Card: UT Upper Deck 2011 Acquired: 2019, Paid Signing
I had been beating myself up for various reasons about not getting Chykie Brown. He originally appeared at a Texas Longhorns Neighborhood Bowling event way back in 2012 that Rod had invited me to, but I didn’t see him among the participants and only figured out after the fact I had missed out on getting his autograph on this card. As I have closed in on finishing this set off, he’s become quite the white whale for me. His certified card for some reason frequently fetches somewhere in the neighborhood of 100.00 on Ebay. Well out of my tastes and price range. So I stumbled luckily upon a signing and knocked him out for a reasonable 10 bucks and called it a day.
Chykie played for DBU (that’s Texas) from 2007 to 2010. He started 29 games at CB and posted 106 total tackles, 2 interceptions, 4 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. The defensive minded Baltimore Ravens selected him in the 5th round of the 2011 NFL Draft. He’d go on to play 6 seasons in the NFL, playing for the Ravens (2011-14), Giants (2014-15), and Bengals (2016). He’d earn a Super Bowl ring in 2012 with the Ravens.
Card: UT Upper Deck 2011 Memorable Moments Acquired: TTM 2021, C/o Work Sent: 1/11/21 Received: 1/19/21 (8 days)
Derek Lewis played tight end for the Texas Longhorns during the John Mackovic era from 1996 to 1998. He caught 20 passes for 192 yards and 2 TDs in 1997- good for 3rd (T) on the team. Lewis saved the best for last, in 1998. Although he’d only catch 18 passes for 236 yards, he caught 6 TD passes- good for second on the team. His biggest moment in the sun came in the first Big 12 Championship against the Nebraska Cornhuskers in 1996. Viewed as a marquee matchup of powerhouses, the game proved to be worth every penny.
“I was never intended to catch the ball. It was never intended to be thrown my way, however, at that point, James Brown looked at me and he trusted me.”
– Derek Lewis
Trailing late in the 4th quarter with 2:30 to go in the game, the Longhorns decided to go for it on 4th down and inches at their own 30. With a powerhouse runningback attack, everybody knew what was coming- but it was not. Instead Coach Mackovic called a bootleg, simply known as ‘Roll Left’. Under pressure, QB James Brown nimbly danced through traffic and found Derek Lewis all alone in the flat, and Derek did the rest, rumbling for 61 yards down to Nebraska’s 10 yard line. -It was a moment for the ages, and marked the pernicious end of the Cornhuskers dominance.
Derek ended up with the St Louis Rams and stuck on the roster for two years, but a knee injury ended his career. He ended up returning to his hometown of New Orleans- but after being held up as a bus driver, his dad advised him to finish up his degree. Derek got back in contact with his former coach Mack Brown, and Brown cut his teeth as an intern assistant in the weight room. From there, he worked his way up the coaching ranks with various stops at Minnesota, Air Force, Texas, and Florida. As of 2021, he’s head coach of Pinkston High School in Dallas, Tx.
He wrote me a very nice note thanking me for asking for his autograph, reminding me that the 25th anniversary of Roll Left is coming up quickly, and that he has a book coming out about it!
James Brown has been incredibly difficult to find TTM. I shrewdly arranged to get his certified card back when I did a case break many years ago, but the Memorable Moments subset do not have any certifieds, so I had to find a creative way to resolve this set since I am so close to completing it. Derek Lewis caught the pass from James, so it actually seemed as appropriate he’d appear on this card in some fashion, but they only make note of him briefly on the back.
At the time of this Memorable Moment in ’96, my life was very… rough. I had moved in with my girlfriend earlier that year that my family didn’t like. They reacted badly- obviously. We were very poor and were always late with rent, bills, and lucky to keep the lights on. While I tried to save my meager salary to pay for things, she blew it on Star Wars toys, got me to co-sign with her on a car driving us further into debt, and later eventually caused me to lose my job, and get my car briefly repossessed. It was a terrible time of my life filled with regrettable decisions. Eventually she was exposed for the beat dog she was, as she went back to her abusive boyfriend, in spectacular Jerry Springer fashion. It gave me a lot of time to reflect about the pitfalls of unconditional love, and the arrogance of believing in it.
This day was a more pleasant one than most. We watched the game snuggled up in a giant black bean bag eating a big plate of nachos. I remember when Derek caught that pass, I howled with excitement. I hadn’t been that excited about football in a while, as by then the Oilers were one foot out the door for Tennessee- and I wanted nothing to do with them at that point.
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.