John Nies was a punter for the Arizona Wildcats in 1989. He had a unique one step approach to punts that allowed him to down 15 of them inside the 20 to lead the nation. He only logged one season as a starter for Arizona, but had 58 punts for 2406 yards and a 41.6 yard average. In 1987 and 1988, he saw action primarily on the kickoff team, booming 88 kicks, of which only 29 were returned by opposing teams. He was selected in the 6th round of the 1990 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills, and punted 5 times for 174 yards in 4 games.
In 1991, Nies would be the 4th special teams player off the board in the World League of American Football positional draft, selected by the Sacramento Surge. He then saw time at both kicker and punter, splitting time with Kendall John Trainor. John finished 11 of 12 on extra points and 4 of 7 on field goals. He punted 23 times for 902 yards including a 53 yard long.
He’d return to the franchise for the 1992 season, and although he’d see an uptick in his kicking stats, Nies was relied upon much more as a punter again as Cary Blanchard quickly established himself as the much more consistent kicker.
Since retiring from football, Nies has been a fitness ambassador with Lululemon, a fashion model, actor, and ESPN host. Currently he teaches East meets West health and wellness philosophies at his group fitness and wellness center, The Power Center, in Red Bank, NJ.
Card: Wild Card World League 1992 Acquired: TTM 2020, C/o Home Sent: 5/4 Received: 5/15 (11 days)
Carl Bax played college ball at Missouri from 1985-1988. The 6’4″, 290 lb guard blocked up front for runningbacks Tommie Stowers and Robert Delpino. Carl was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1989 during the 8th round. He played two seasons for the franchise.
Carl is the founder of Premiere Orthopedic and lives in Tampa, Florida. Carl was a pretty easy find for me, thanks to his unique name, and he signed his Wild Card for me in a short amount of time, writing best wishes to me on the card.
Cards: ProSet 1989, Action Packed 1990, Action Packed Whizzer White Award 1991, ProSet 1991 WLAF Inserts Acquired: TTM 2020, C/o Home Sent: 10/5 Received: 10/17 (12 days)
Reggie Williams played college football at Dartmouth, and was a 3 time All-Ivy League selection from 1973-1975. Reggie was so dominant that he caught the attention of pro scouts, parlaying his efforts to become a 3rd round selection of the Cincinnati Bengals in 1976.
Over the next 14 seasons, Reggie went on to become one of the Bengals best draft picks. He played in an unheard of 206 games (one short of Ken Riley for the franchise record), and virtually owned the entire Bengals record books at linebacker for every statistical category including: career tackles, sacks, interceptions, and fumbles. He also earned the Whizzer White Award in 1985, the NFL Man of the Year Award in 1986, and SI’s Sportsperson of the Year in 1987.
He’s been at the frontlines of visionary ideas leading sport and NFL initiatives and then working with Disney overseeing their recreational and sports divisions since then. In the final years of his time with the Bengals he also served as a city councilman, and was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2007.
Still despite all this, and being virtually an icon with Cincinnati, Reggie has been largely unheralded by his former franchise. A true warrior, he’s had over 25 knee surgeries since his career concluded, and it has taken its toll on his leg. He’s written a book about his life, ‘Resilient by Nature’, where he gives a great wealth of insight into his life, and shares his dedication and willingness to overcome whatever obstacles he faces.
I had wanted to get Reggie’s autograph for sometime. He is the epitome of who I like to get an autograph from and for whom I like to write about. He has had an interesting journey both in and out of the sport- and I feel that he is someone who doesn’t get enough accolades for all he’s done. I wrote him an email through Facebook and he was kind enough to respond to me. We talked briefly about his foray into the World League- where he told me, “He loved the travel.” I sent him some old photos of magazine clippings from Gametime magazines as well that he enjoyed very much. He was doing a book signing in the area, so I sent him a stack of extra cards for his personal collection and to hand out to fans. A man of his word, Reggie signed these cards in no time flat for me.
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.