Cards: Action Packed Rookies 1991, Score 1991
Acquired: In Person 1992, San Antonio Riders v. Birmingham Fire
Failure: TTM 2010, C/o The University of Virginia
After the Birmingham Fire lost to the San Antonio Riders that humid night I tromped onto the field and got Shawn’s autograph on his Action Packed Rookies and Score 1991 card. You could see on his face the frustration of being buried on the depth chart and the relative annoyance he felt about being there, but he still managed to sign these two cards for me.
In the early 90’s, Dan Reeves decided that he was going to pull rank and find the heir apparent to John Elway after tensions boiled to the surface between the two seasoned professionals. Dan drafted not one, but two quarterbacks in the 1991 draft. Highly regarded Tommy Maddox from UCLA and Shawn Moore from Virginia. Shawn had finished 1st in passing efficiency in the nation and broke most passing records for the Cavaliers in 1990. Moore would be drafted in the 11th round of the draft and back up both Maddox and Elway.
The Broncos would loan Moore to the Birmingham Fire for the 1992 season where he was expected to compete for the starting job, however he never saw any time off the bench sitting behind Mike Norseth. Shawn returned to the NFL for the 1992 season throwing for 232 yards and 3 picks in injury relief for John Elway. Afterwards he’d return to the bench of the Broncos, where he’d stay through 1993. In 1994, Shawn signed with the Arizona Cardinals, but saw no playing time. He’d then head North to Canada for the 1995 season, splitting time with the Blue Bombers and Stampeders before retiring from professional football.
Since then Moore has spent time in administration working as a national scout for the XFL and an enforcement representative for the NCAA. Currently he’s the wide receivers coach for his alma mater, The University of Virginia. I sent two cards out to Moore last year, hoping to get his autograph on two final cards but at this point am still waiting hopefully for a response.
Card: StarPics 1992
Acquired: Patriots Blitz 1993
Drafted out of tiny New Hampshire in the 5th round of the 1992 draft by the New England Patriots to play linebacker, Dwayne Sabb has had quite an interesting and lively career. He’d play for the Patriots initially through the 1996 season. A good backup for the team, he’d start 24 games over 5 seasons making 7 sacks, 3 picks, 92 tackles and 3 fumbles. After he left New England he’d sign with the Chargers for the 1997 season, but not make the squad. In 1998 he signed with Buffalo and had the same result.
Sabb would sit out a few seasons until the XFL arrived. He’d sign with the New York/New Jersey Hitmen in 2001 and would be one of the league’s leaders in sacks before it folded at the end of the season. He’d finish the season with 26 tackles and 4 sacks for the team. Dwayne afterwards would spend the remainder of his career in the Arena leagues playing fullback and linebacker for the New Jersey Gladiators in 2001 and 2002. After a moderately successful time there, he’d play one season for the Buffalo Destroyers (2003) and Philadelphia Soul in 2004 before retiring.
Cards: Classic 1991, Action Packed Rookies 1991
Acquired: In Person 1991, 1992 Dallas Cowboys Training Camp
The fresh smell of the second training camp was still in the air and permanent fences still hadn’t been fully erected. Players didn’t always go up the alleyway and occasionally a poor soul would get swarmed by the masses like zombies to the fresh meat, when they came up the wrong way. Alvin Harper did exactly this the first time we got his autograph. He’d be one of our first victims that training camp on his abysmal looking Classic 1991 card. -Great pose however. He was a hell of a jumper. I also learned about trying to avoid getting autographs on glossy cards as with this card the autograph streaked a bit. Alvin Haper like David Anderson– loves to put a star for his “A”- but in this case it really makes sense because in a vain way because Alvin played for the Cowboys. Josh and I also met this guy who was crazy about meeting Harper the next year- and kept talking about how Harper was from a little town in Florida called Frostproof. He talked about it so much- I remembered it for this article without even looking it up!
Harper would be drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in their 1991 draft along with Russell Maryland. His rookie season would pass by uneventful enough stretching the field with 20 catches for 326 yards. Alvin’s 2nd and 3rd year would see proportionate increasing in his playing time, yardage, catches and touchdowns, to a point where in his 4th year- Harper would lead the NFL in average yards per catch with a sizzling 24.9 yards per catch. This would be the apex of his statistical career.
I really scratched my head because in 1995 he was the top free agent wide receiver on the market, and the Cowboys were not interested in resigning him. Harper would sign with the lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who were looking for his big play potential to stretch defenses. Harper was happy playing for bigger money closer to home in Frostproof. He was also courted by the Redskins and Chiefs. Things didn’t exactly pan out. Injuries and a bad offense didn’t help him and his career quickly fizzled out. Alvin would spend two seasons there, and then sign in 1997 with the Redskins and also the Saints. In his time with the Redskins though Harper found out about volunteer coaching through Howard University, and began that season. In 1998 he’d be out of football, but hoping to recapture some of that magic again signed with the Cowboys where he played one final season with them in 1999. Alvin has always kept one eye on the sport that he loves dearly- and played in the XFL for the Memphis Maniax in 2001, before retiring from the sport for good. Alvin kept coaching,- something that he truly enjoys and spent some time coaching receivers in the NFLE for the Rhein Fire in 2005. Harper was also officially hired on board by the Howard Bisons (whom he previously interned for) and in 2004 became the team’s offensive coordinator: A position he’s held into 2010.
Largely one could wonder how Harper would have fared if he stayed paired with Michael Irvin. Harper certainly had great tools and athleticism which the Cowboys really knew how to use, but he never quite fit the mold of a lead wide receiver that the Bucs and Redskins hoped he’d be. On a more humorous note, Alvin had a secret nickname- “Freaky Harp”, which I will leave it to you to figure out as he was banned from a Gentleman’s Club in Dallas for being in a phone booth, -and it wasn’t for making a phone call. Harper was also well represented on Tecmo Super Bowl Final Edition on Super Nintendo and was a real factor in the game… for the Buccaneers.
G/Gp 102/67 Rec 191 Yds 3473 Avg 18.2 Td 21 lg 90t