Mike McCray played linebacker for the Michigan Wolverines. While there for the school from 2013 to 2017. A rare 5th year Senior, Mike really only saw sizable action in 2016 and 2017. In both years he made it count, being named to the All Big 10 squad. Mike finished his career at Big Blue with 154 total tackles (96 solo, 58 assists), 30.5 tackles for loss, 9 sacks, 6 pass deflections, 1 fumble recovery, and 2 interceptions for 36 yards and a TD- which he scored in the 2016 Orange Bowl versus Florida State. He would not be selected in the 2018 NFL Draft, but signed with the Miami Dolphins. Shortly afterwards he’d announce his retirement on Twitter and informing the fan base that he was done with the sport.
Wow, good job Panini. That’s two players I’ve gotten through blaster boxes that retired before they even hit the field. The card is decent looking enough, but the silver nameplate is lost in the sea of deep blue. Also Mike has a terrible and uninspiring autograph.
Zack Ryan played college ball at Ball State from 2012 to 2016. After walking onto the football team and redshirting for 2012. He’d start 42 games for Ball St at linebacker and middle linebacker, finishing his time there for the Cardinals with 319 career tackles, 24.5 tackles for losses, 6 sacks, 2 interceptions, and 6 forced fumbles. Considered undersized for the linebacker position (5’11”, 220) Ryan is a fast and athletic player, who is a freak in the weight room and digests a heavy amount of film.
Undrafted out of college, I’m not sure the NFL was ready yet for Zach, whose talents were something in between a linebacker, safety, and cornerback. He got a tryout with the Ravens but did not make the squad.
Way not to step up to the plate Panini. I don’t get it. I really like what they do, but when it comes to the intangibles of the market, Panini just falls flat on their face. Case in point: Serving me an autograph of a player who wasn’t drafted. OK. That’s not so bad… What’s bad is the fact that this guy retired a month BEFORE the draft due to lingering knee injuries. In fact he’d been retired so long that he’s had his PR team scrub his wikipedia entry, highlighting his accomplishments and billing him as a ‘political operative’, rather than a football player. I mean, Panini either didn’t care or didn’t have the time to remove all his cards/autographs from the set, but still Panini should’ve offered me a replacement, at least, instead of crickets on Twitter. Since I got this initial card, I have pulled an additional 2 duplicates of this autograph which begged me to wonder how poor the sorting machine is at Panini.
Ok now- let’s talk about Adam Brenemen. A lifelong football fan of the Philadelphia Eagles, Adam was recognized and encouraged by his coaches while in high school for his athletic talent. He went to college initially at Penn State and in his true Freshman year caught 15 passes with 3 going for touchdowns; However an MRI in 2014 showed significant knee ligament damage- so much so that Adam had to leave the sport behind.
Still hearing the siren’s call, Adam decided to give it another shot after transferring to UMASS in 2016. He put up some great numbers playing for the Minutemen with 70 catches for 808 yards and 8 TDs in 2016, and 64 receptions for 764 yards and 4 TDs. Unfortunately his lingering knee injury worsened and he was forced to retire before draft day at the age of 22.
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.