Category Archives: NFL

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

Aikman, Troy

Card: Proset 1989
Acquired: Dallas Cowboys Training Camp 1991

Troy Aikman was the #1 pick of the phenomenal 1989 NFL Draft. His career started badly enough, with a 0-11 record as a starter in his first season. He’d have to wait till 1990 for his first win as a starting quarterback. (Steve Walsh would also be drafted in 1989 to compete against Aikman, and won the team’s only game against the Washington Redskins that season.) The team slowly grew under Aikman’s stead where Dallas finally reached the playoffs in 1991, which would coincide with the beginning of  6 consecutive ProBowl appearances. He’d earn the 1992 NFL Super Bowl MVP, and in 1997 the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.  A good manager and custodian, who learned not to turn the ball over- Aikman was probably one of the last in a line of quarterbacks who were allowed time (3 seasons or more) to grow into their job. (One could wonder about David Carr, for example, if he could’ve ever turned the corner without the bright glare of the media, fantasy football or armchair Madden experts screaming on the internet about passing mechanics even though they never played themselves.)  Troy over a 12 year career only started a full season 3 times, (which in this day and age would get you labeled as ‘injury prone’) and finished with over 20 touchdowns, (23) once in his career. He’d also never throw for over 3,500 yards. Despite his purely average 81.6 quarterback rating, Aikman was a winner, with his 90 wins being the most during the 1990s among starting quarterbacks. He also was 11-4 in the playoffs. Injuries would eventually begin to take their toll on him as he had 10 career concussions. Waived after the 2000 season, and unable to find a team, he retired after brief flirtations with the Miami Dolphins.

Aikman since football has become quite a good commentator, broadcasting for FOX and is part of the network’s premier crew. In 2005 he was inducted into the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor, and into the Hall of Fame in 2006. He also was inducted into the College Hall of Fame in 2008 and in 2010 also started doing commercials for Rent-A-Center.

Troy Aikman was a difficult signature to acquire at training camp. I was only able to get him once, – the first day of the second training camp, and never got him again. (The artifact lines across the card are from the plastic sleeve and are not a representation of the condition of the card.) Like Emmitt Smith,  Troy wasn’t a widespread signer and this didn’t really endear him to me, considering I went to training camp solid for 4 seasons. I guess it was hit or miss. I met kids who got 4 or 5 cards signed, and he was kind enough to sign quite a few for the handicapped, but I guess he thought I was a seller since I was there all the time. Nonetheless one does suffice, and this card was probably my favorite of his. As of late it has come to my attention that Aikman is charging now for his autograph on cards and helmets with reports going anywhere from $100-200 through the mail.

Games 165  Att  4715   Comp  2898    Pct  61.5%    Yds  32942
Td 165  Int 141   Rat 81.6

Del Greco, Al

Cards: Topps Traded 1989, Upper Deck 1992
Acquired: In Person, Houston Oilers Training Camp 1992, CGA Youth Golf Tournament 1993.

The Oilers were searching for the replacement to Tony Zendejas whom they lost in Plan B to the Los Angeles Rams. Passing by established names such as Mike Lansford and Raul Allegre, the Oilers brought Teddy Garcia into camp. Unimpressed, the Oilers sent out an APB for a replacement, and found the feel good story of the year in Ian Howfield who won the job with an impressive preseason, but after 9 games it was obvious that he was not the answer, missing 4 extra points and quite a few field goals.  The Oilers called up Al Del Greco, who had lost the kicking job in Phoenix earlier that year. He had a decent enough resume and was the starting kicker for Green Bay (after Jan Stenerud) from 1984-1987 and Phoenix from 1987-1990. (He was also ironically replaced by another Zendejas in Green Bay.)

Del Greco would win the job outright in Houston, (and at that time I wasn’t really impressed,)  providing the Oilers with the consistency and clutch kicking that the team direly needed. He played for the Oilers the next 6 seasons, two for the Tennessee Oilers and then his final two seasons with the Titans- retiring after 2000 and 17 seasons. Del Greco currently stands at number 14 on the all time scoring list with 1592 points (as of 2010).

Al has since been inducted into the Alabama sports Hall of Fame. He briefly got into coaching and was a kicking coach in the AFL for the Birmingham Steeldogs as well, and does some radio and motivational speaking on the side. Del Greco is quite the golfer I hear, and was the winner of the CGA tournament that I went to way back in 1993.

G 248    XPA  543       XPM  551       FGA 449      FGM 347    PCT 77.3%