Category Archives: NFL

Holmes, Clayton

Card: Topps Stadium Club 1992
Acquired: In Person 1993, Dallas Cowboys Training Camp

Clayton Holmes’ story is a tragic and cautious tale. A 3rd round pick out of tiny Carson-Newman in 1992, Holmes went from rags to riches in the matter of days. (An amazing athlete, it was reputed that Holmes ran a 4.29 in the 40.) After an acceptable rookie season, where he was second on the team in special teams tackles and forced a fumble in the SuperBowl, it appeared that things were on the up and up for the young defensive back. Unfortunately, during the 1993 preseason, Clayton sustained a season ending injury and began to spend money and abuse drugs and alcohol at an unusual rate which led to him being suspended multiple times for weed. Holmes picked up some spot kick and punt return duty in his final two seasons with the Cowboys before his release in 1995. It is said that his multiple run ins with the league over his off the field problems coupled by his injuries led to Clayton’s release. He was contacted by his former coach Jimmy Johnson (who was now coaching in Miami)  and asked Holmes if he was clean. Holmes, insisted he was and was signed by the Dolphins, but subsequently was suspended for a year for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. The Dolphins waived Clayton- without him ever playing a down for the team. Johnson stated openly that he worried about Clayton and his future. Holmes played some minor league indoor football for the Topeka Knights, and the Kansas Koyotes before finally retiring from football and dropping off the face of the Earth.

In 1998 Clayton tragically tried to commit suicide, but in the end returned to his hometown of Florence, SC where he lived in a trailer with no running water or electricity behind his parents house. He has persevered since hitting rock bottom and has found peace.  A deeply spiritual man, Clayton is currently an activist for Cannabis reform.

I got Clayton’s autograph in 1993, with the Cowboys at St. Edwards. He had a beaming smile and you could tell he was so happy to be there. Clayton was so full of life, and he couldn’t turn down an autograph request, signing as many as he could. He was a kid, and I felt in that brief moment we were much alike. It’s sad how far Holmes had fallen. I can not pass judgement so harshly on such a man and hope only for the best for Clayton Holmes.

G/Gs 39/7        Tac 35         Sac 0       Fum 2
Int 1       Yds 3       Avg 3.0       Td 0     Lg 3

Feggins, Howard

Card: Wild Card WLAF 1992
Acquired: TTM 2010, C/o South Carolina State University
Sent: 9/21     Received:  10/2   (11 days)

An equally adept cornerback and safety in college at UNC, Howard Feggins would be signed by the woeful New England Patriots in 1988, where he played in 11 games, making an interception in 1989. After a preseason with the Giants in 1990, and his mind already on coaching,  Howard wasted no time joining the NFL’s Minority Coaching Fellowship in the summer of 1991, with the New York Giants.

The WLAF came calling and the London Monarchs had other plans for Howard in the team’s already dominating secondary. He’d earn a World Bowl ring playing for the team in 1991 and in 1992 would see his playing time increased, pulling down 2 interceptions for the Monarchs. After the reorganization of the WLAF, Feggins play for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL, but would continue coaching and return to the pros by 1999 as an assistant coach for the New England Patriots. In 2004, he’d take over at Northwestern, coaching wide receivers through 2006 at the university. Currently Howard is an assistant coach at South Carolina State. Under his tutelage at every stop since returning to the college ranks, Feggins’ teams have seen exponential growth at the receiver position.

I have turned to other methods to locate players from the WLAF recently, and was able to find Howard through a social networking site and ask for his autograph. He quickly responded in 11 days, signing this card I had of him from the Wild Card corporation. He wrote me a nice note, which always makes me feel good about my enthusiast hobby.  Below are Howard’s statistics from the WLAF.

G/Gs  N/a     Tac   N/a      Sac  N/a   Fum   N/a   Int  2      Yds  48    Avg 24.0   Td 0   Lg 46

Clayborn, Raymond

Cards: Score 1989 Supplemental, Action Packed Rookies 1990
Acquired: TTM 2010, C/o Home.
Sent: 6/11   Recieved: 6/17   (6 days)

Converted from runningback, Clayborn was a superb and speedy defensive back and track athlete from the University of Texas that was selected in the first round of the 1977 draft by the New England Patriots. A rookie that would be used primarily as an electrifying kick returner, Raymond returned 28 kicks for a jaw-dropping 869 yards and 3- count ’em, 3 touchdowns- starting only 2 games. In 1978 he’d take over full time as the left cornerback  picking off 4 passes, and hold down the spot for 4 seasons intercepting 17 passes over that period. In 1982 Clayborn would move to the right position where he’d play the remainder of his career intercepting 19 passes. Raymond also recovered a fumble in Superbowl XX and was instrumental in the Patriots’ run up to the game. Injuries slowly crept up on Raymond with age, and he left via Plan B from the Patriots to the Cleveland Browns in 1990, where he retired in 1991 after 208 games and 36 picks. At the time of his retirement his 36 interceptions were a Patriots career record, and he’d be named consensus AP twice in his career along with 3 ProBowl nominations.

Since retiring, Clayborn was named to the Patriots 35th Anniversary team and the Patriots All-Decade team of the 1970’s and 1980’s. At the time of this post he lives in Dallas and is the Houston Texans’ uniform representative. (The uniform representative ensures that all players are wearing their team uniforms properly and recommends fines if he finds players in violation of the NFL standards.) I sent out these two cards to him at his home and he responded in a respectable amount of time. I always like following up with former Longhorns and I loved the Action Packed Rookies set, so getting autographs back from Raymond was a ‘win-win’ for me- especially in under a week. I am surprised though when players autograph the white box on the back that they originally intended for the player’s signature- and I prefer that they actually to sign the embossed picture side of the card.

Games 208     Tac N/a    Sac N/a    Fum 8
Int 36    Yds 555    Avg 15.4      Td   1     Lg 85