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Renfro, Mel

to71 renfroudldg97 renfro

Cards: Upper Deck Legends 1997, Topps 1971, Top Notch Signature Select 2013, HoF postcard
Acquired: TTM 2014, C/o Home*
Sent:  2/10     Received:   2/18   (8 days)
* Signing fee of $10 per flat included.

tnt13g mrenfroMel Renfro was a star 2 way player for Oregon, playing both cornerback and tailback, while also excelling at track for the Ducks. After rushing for 1,532 yards for the Ducks over 3 years, he was drafted in the second round by the Dallas Cowboys in 1964. Intially slotted to play runningback Coach Landry made the call to move him to safety where he had an outstanding rookie season with 7 interceptions, and was the NFL leader in kick and punt return yards.  In his second season the Cowboys switched Mel back to runningback in the hopes that he’d inject some life into the offense, but was returned to defense with the emergence of Dan Reeves.

Although he held the designation of return specialist for much of the next few years, Renfro moved from safety to corner in 1966, culminating in leading the NFL in 1969 with 10 interceptions. Over his career with the Cowboys Mel was named All Pro 5 times, and to the Pro Bowl 10. A two time Super Bowl champion, Renfro was co-MVP of the 1970 Pro Bowl and named to the Dallas Cowboys’ Ring of Honor in 1981. Mel is the team’s all-time leader in both career kickoff return average and interceptions. Renfro was inducted into the NFL HoF in 1996.
mem renfro

He’s spent some time coaching in the USFL with the Express, and the St. Louis Cardinals. A motivational speaker, Mel is pretty engaging with fans. I missed out at Dallas Stadium Fan Day at the end of the year. My timing was perfect to get Rocket Ismail, but so perfect, Mel came out just as I finished getting Rocket- so I ended up having to go to the very back of the line. I went ahead and wrote him a few days later including the customary signing fee.  Renfro signed all the cards I enclosed, and as a bonus included an autographed Hall of Fame postcard, a signed business card, and he asked if I could send him an extra copy of the custom Top Notch card that I sent.  A very short wait for such a great return, and a fair price to boot.

The Topps 1971 set has grown on me over the years and is a seminal classic to me. On the other hand the Upper Deck Legends 1997 is very disappointing. Considered a classic as well in its own right, I was pretty disappointed in this entry. The photo is not inspired, and it even looks like a thumb got in on the action on the left side. Sad. The profile photo of Mel is also from later in his career.  I went for some action photos for Mel’s Top Notch entry. I very much enjoy the classic press photo shots that were very popular during the 70s and used two different ones  for either side.

G/Gs 174/152     Pr 109     Yds 842     Avg 7.7     Td 1     Lg 69t
Kr 85    Yds 2246    Avg 26.4     Td 2      Lg 100t
Tac N/a     Sac N/a     Fum 12     Int 52    Yds 626    Avg 12.0      Td 3    Lg 90t

Koger, Kevin

Card: Leaf Rookies 2012
Acquired: 2012, Box Breaker

Kevin Koger was an honorable mention All Big 10 tight end for the Michigan Wolverines. Quickly in his freshman season he established himself as a go to guy and proved it by taking his first reception to the house 26 yards. He’d end up starting 31 of 46 games over his career and was the team captain for the offense in 2011. In that final year at Michigan, Kevin hauled in 23 receptions for 244 yards and 4 touchdowns.  With good size (6’4″, 258), attitude, and work ethic, Kevin was thought to sneak in somewhere between the 5th and 7th round of the 2012 draft.  His skills as a pass catcher in an heavy run oriented offense hurt his stock somewhat, but an Achilles tear did him in, sidelining him for 6 to 8 months afterwards, scaring teams away completely.  After receiving surgery, Kevin remains optimistic to be signed by an NFL team once he completes his rehabilitation. In the meantime he’s been spotted coaching football at Saline High School in Michigan.