Ross Cockrell played collegially at Duke where he was a starter as a true Freshman. In 49 games playing for the Blue Devils, Ross had 233 total tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 12 interceptions for 80 yards and a TD. A solid special teamer, Ross also holds the school record for the longest blocked field goal return for a TD with a 75-yard gallop against FIU in 2012. Ross performed well at the combine, and improved upon his numbers at his pro day.
Cockrell was selected in the 4th round by the Buffalo Bills, but after seeing limited action his rookie year, he’d be cut a year later. The Bills hoped to bring him back to the practice squad, but he’d jump to the Pittsburgh Steelers instead. He quickly assimilated the defensive game plan and started 7 games in 2015. He posted 2 interceptions, 11 pass deflections, a forced fumble, and 33 tackles. During 2016, Cockrell started the entire slate of games, and had 47 tackles, 14 pass deflections, and a fumble recovery. He’d be traded to the New York Giants in 2017 after the arrival of Joe Haden in Pittsburgh. Over 9 starts, Ross recorded 3 interceptions, 11 pass deflections, and 37 tackles.
Always flying under the radar, I had hoped the Texans would make a move for Ross, who is a pretty good slot man, however they had their fill of DBs bringing in Aaron Colvin and Honey Badger.
Ross took his talent to another defensive minded franchise instead for 2018- The Carolina Panthers. Ross had a pretty solid camp ongoing, and was expected to start, until he broke his leg. He spent the entire season on IR.
Fred Warner played in college for Brigham Young at linebacker where he started from 2015 to 2017 for the Cougars. In his Sophomore campaign of 2015, he had 67 tackles, 4 sacks, and 11.5 tackles for loss. He’d earn All-Independent Honors the following year when he posted 86 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 10.5 tackles for loss, and 3 interceptions. His 2017 was equally impressive, when he had 87 tackles, 9 tackles for loss, and an interception.
Fred was taken in the 3rd round by the San Fransisco 49ers during the 2018 NFL Draft. A rangy talent, Warner has the motor and speed to be moved around the field into a hybrid linebacker safety role, but the ‘9ers seem content to have him man the middle linebacker position. Flying under the radar, Warner had an outstanding rookie season in 2018, finishing with 124 combined tackles, 6 pass deflections, and 1 forced fumble.
This is a great card from Panini here. The colors are really spot on and it looks exciting! Unfortunately the autograph completely takes away from the card in this case. While I can make out the F—W— well sorta… it was pointed out to me that it looked like Fred had a stroke while signing this card. Just a terrible autograph.
Cards: Playoff 1999 (6279), Leaf Rookies & Stars 2004 Slideshow, Panini Classics 2016 NL, Panini Classics 2016 Legends*, Panini Contenders 2018, Panini Elite 2018, Atomic 2002. Acquired: In Person 2018, 43 and 34 Camp, Heisman House Tour See Also: Ricky Williams, Little Earl (2), Ricky Williams (3), Ricky Williams (4) * future considerations D-Rock
There is really no end to the plethora of cards I can find that I like for Ricky, so I just keep stacking them up- as long as he keeps signing of course. I’ve gotten Little Earl more times than any other player, and each time I meet him, each interaction is a unique experience. When I went to the 43 and 34 Camp, it was a blisteringly hot Texas day. After the event ended, people swarmed him as he slowly made his way to his car. He knew if he didn’t start that way at that moment, he’d be here all night. Still Ricky practiced an immense amount of patience, realizing perhaps that he was stuck, he just stopped at the entrance to the stadium and started signing. His gatekeeper tried in vain to get people to line up, and although there were cutters I waited to get up to him. It’s like the world goes silent and nobody is there. Ricky has that effect, or I do- I am not sure. He was like, “Hey man! Long time no see.” I told him that having a kid will do that to you.
Ricky has a new line of cannabis/ natural herb wellness products. I’m hoping to get some shipped to Texas to see if it can be of benefit to my father who suffers from lupus.
These cards are just flat out amazing. Every time I think I run out of cards, I find a few more that I really like. The Leaf 2004 Rookies & Stars Slideshow is translucent. The scan just doesn’t do it enough justice, but it is a well designed, exciting card. The Playoff 99 card is another gimmicky card. It’s translucent with the numbers in a velvet material.
Later I went to the Heisman House Tour that came to DKR before the Texas USC game. Knowing Ricky was there I packed quite a few cards for him to sign. The problem was they had a nasty gatekeeper. I got up to the stage and Ricky recognized me. We chatted for a few seconds while he signed a card. This woman came out from the door connected from the tent and shooed me away before I could get the rest. I just said to Ricky with a smile, “I’ll come back around again.” The line was not long at all for Ricky. The humidity or the weather prediction (of rain that never happened) kept people away. I got back in line, cruised back around, and got the rest of the cards signed.
We had a good and quick chat this time. I asked him if he’d have a touchdown dance now- since the league had lifted the restrictions on the rules. He initially told me no, but then re-thought it when I suggested Arian Foster’s ‘namaste pose’. I then quickly suggested that he go on Arian’s intriguing podcast as they both had really interesting philosophical ideals. He said he’d be interested and consider it, but he and Arian hadn’t talked in a while.
All in all again, some really nice cards I got signed at the Heisman House Tour. I really liked the NEXT LEVEL card the best- even if it is the same photograph from the Panini Elite card. The backside has him in a New Orleans Saints uniform, and could also be mistaken for the front as well if not for its lack of gloss on it. The Elite card is nice and flashy. I like where they have taken the design of this set over the years. Even the logo is a much needed improvement over the Donruss Elite logo. It’s a shield/chevron. That’s smart design.
The Classics 2016 card is for D-Rock on Sportscollectors.net. He had previously helped me out by sending me a Eugene Chung autograph I needed. What was touching about it was that he was reaching out to me because he hadn’t seen me on the boards in a while.
I had been stung badly by another collector on Sportscollectors.net who offered to get me some autographs and then pulled the rug out from under me as soon as I agreed. Anyway D-Rock’s kindness really struck me, so I offered to help him out when I had a chance. It took me a lot longer than I thought to get this autograph, but I can see why he wanted to get this one signed as the Classics card is not only a nice card, the autograph really sticks out on the canvas.
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.