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
Card: Star Pics 1992
Acquired: In Person 1994, Philadelphia Eagles Training Camp
Tommy Jeter played for the Texas Longhorns during the waning days of the Southwestern Conference, (which consisted at that point of a bunch of teams from Texas after Arkansas left). He’d be drafted in the 3rd round by the Philadelphia Eagles, where I’d get his autograph in West Chester in 1995. Although he was well sized at 6-5, 285, Jeter would rarely get playing time under Rich Kotite and Ray Rhodes, and injuries took its toll on the young defensive lineman as he spent the greater part of his final season with the Eagles on IR before being released. Jeter would then sign with the Arizona Cardinals and be cut in training camp and then end up with the Panthers before retiring in 1996.
I think I got like 14 or 15 autographs on my trip to West Chester that year. My parents felt bad because I wanted to go to the Pro Football HoF but we were unable to go even though we were in the general area. I think the biggest haul I got from this group was Herschel Walker, but Randall Cunningham completely denied me, by dropping my card on the ground outside the fence and insisting I already got one from him, – even though I hadn’t. Training camp there was set up much the same way as Cowboys training camp, with a long metal fence that players walked by, but a lot less fans. It was interesting too because the player’s wives came out with them too, almost like they were trying to show them off to the crowd. Tommy was a really nice guy. He saw that I was wearing my high school hat, and asked me, “What I was doing here and how was Austin?”
G/GS 32/0 Tac 15 Sac 1 FF 0 Int 0 Yds 0 Avg -.- Td 0
Cards: Action Packed 1990, Skybox 1992, Gameday 1991.
Acquired: In Person, CGA Youth Golf Tournament 1993.
See Also: Steve McMichael (2)
Steve McMichael before graduating from the University of Texas set the college’s career records for most tackles (369) and sacks (30) and was named Hula Bowl MVP in 1979. McMichael was originally drafted by the New England Patriots in 1980 and had a quiet rookie season playing for them that year only getting 5 tackles. By 1981 he was already on the street but quickly picked up by the Chicago Bears, where he’d become a mainstay at defensive tackle (and on occasion NT) in the NFC Central for the next 13 seasons (13 for Chicago and 1 for Green Bay). He’d provide solid work in the trenches as a technically sound run stopper and pass rusher. A two time ProBowl selection in 1987 and 1988, Steve would also be a two time AllPro in 1985 and 1987. He’d also notch over 10 sacks 3 times in his career along the way and played in 191 games for the Chicago Bears. (His 191 games started is a club record for consecutive starts). He’d also finish his career with 3 career safeties and was a key contributor to the Bears solid efforts to win SuperBowl XX, ironically against his ex team the Patriots. McMichael would play one more season across the lake in Green Bay before retiring in 1994.
Steve after football would pursue a career in Pro Wrestling, adopting the name “Mongo” and coming in under the WCW banner. His wife would also get into the act and was a part of wrestling’s early 1990’s attempt to sell sex. Mongo would have a much publicized wrestling career and even took on other former pro football players such as Kevin Greene and Reggie White. His life would begin to match that of the soap opera that was wrestling when his wife (Debra) left him for another wrestler in 1999. He’d leave the sport until 2008 where he refereed a match for TNA wrestling. Since those years Mongo, has done pre-game commentary for Bears games and is coach for the Chicago Slaughter of the Continental Football League. He has also since remarried and was inducted into the College Football HoF in 2010.
I got Steve’s autograph when he was riding around with Earnest Byner during the CGA Youth Golf Tournament in 1993. My strange connection to Mongo is that while I was working at a used video game store, his ex-wife’s best friend was my boss. I’d overhear from time to time my boss talking about taking morning jogs with Debra, and how her new husband sometimes was abusive towards her. It’s sad how that ended up but nonetheless things have worked out for McMichael, the hope is things have worked out for Debra too.
Games 213 Tac 838 Sac 95 FF 13
Int 2 Yds 5 Td 0