Jones, John (Wesley) ‘Lam’

Cards: University of Texas Upper Deck 2011, University of Texas Upper Deck 2011 ATA, University of Texas 2011 NCAA, University of Texas 2011 Icons
Acquired: IP 1/21/2017, Houston Sports Collectibles Show- Waco, TX

An impressive track man with fleet caliber speed, Johnny ‘Lam’ Jones was a deep bomb threat at the University of Texas from 1976-1979.  Originally a runningback, Lam was switched to receiver in 1977 when coaches were blown away by his speed.  Case in point, Jones was part of a 4×100 relay team for the United States, that won gold in Montreal in 1976.  In 1977 he demonstrated his speed recording 21 catches for 543 yards, a whopping 25.9 yards per grab, and 7 TDs.  He finished his career at UT with 156 carries for 850 yards and 6 TDs, to go along with 85 receptions for 1603 yards and 14 TDs. Jones was also a capable kick returner with 28 kick returns for 589 yards and a TD.

The New York Jets were enamored with Jones’ speed and big play ability, and traded up in the 1980 draft to the #2 overall spot to grab him. It was a stiff price to pay, and while Lam averaged a healthy 16.8 yards per grab over his career, the price tag was too much for NY to bear.  John’s best season came in 1983 when he caught 43 balls for 734 yards and 4 TDs.  His career was defined by trauma, as in 4 consecutive seasons it was ended by some sort of malaise.  He’d be cut in 1986 and retire.

Jones descended into darkness. Drug and alcohol abuse, and bad decisions really impacted his life. It took many years for Lam to climb out.  Lam found focus in his life and dedicated himself to helping others avoid the same problems he encountered through public speaking.

John was really nice to fans at the Collectible Show in Waco. He and I talked at lengths about how Austin and I-35 had changed. While he discussed with me his Myeloma Cancer and the fact that his doctor told him in 2005 he’d be dead in a year in a half- indeed the cancer has returned and he is no longer in remission. He really liked the icons card that I had of his, and I agreed to send him one to keep.

I don’t mind long drives for autographs. In fact this one seemed close enough at a click over 100 miles. The drives are always purifying to me- something that clears my mind, with a reward pegged at the end. This drive was particularly interesting as it took me an alternative route from Bastrop to Temple and through places like Bartlett and Little River. It was a bit off the beaten path, but I felt like my own explorer in a strange land.  I had never been to the Texas Sports Hall of Fame where this signing was at, but it was woefully short on Houston Oilers history, and long enough to display memorabilia from KS Bud Adams.  It’s worth a look see at least once for fans and casuals alike.

G/Gs 61/38     Rec 138    Yds 2322    Avg 16.8     TD  13    LG 55

Jordan, Steve

Cards: Score 1990, Action Packed 1991, Action Packed 1992
Acquired: TTM 2016, C/o Home
Sent:  11/23/16   Received: 4/14/17    (142 days)

Steve Jordan went to college at little known football school Brown from 1978-1981.  As a Junior he finished 5th in the league in receiving, but but gained real recognition as a Senior when he posted 38 receptions for 693 yards and earning numerous awards. Jordan made enough of an impression that the Minnesota Vikings drafted Steve in the 7th round of the 1982 NFL Draft. He’d initially bide his time on special teams and work his way up from 3rd string.

After 3 seasons, Steve finally was named starter at tight end. He’d go on to start every game over the next 10 years. During that period he also established himself as a dependable go to man, pulling down 3 or more passes a game during the 150 game stretch. Steve was definitely ahead of his time in an era when tight ends were more relied on for blocking than their receiving skills.  Over that period Jordan appeared in 6 Pro Bowls, which is more than HOF greats: Jackie Smith, Ozzie Newsome, Kellen Winslow, Dave Casper, John Mackey, and Mike Ditka.  Oddly Steve has not received any HoF considerations.  As of 2017, he is the Vikings All-Time receiving leader at tight end.

Steve played for the Vikings through 1994, but as age and injury took their toll, he opted to retire from the sport.

Steve moved to Arizona where he has been involved in engineering and construction. He’s also involved in numerous sports initiatives bringing education, and healthy lifestyle building to Native Americans.  Steve’s son Cameron, also plays in the NFL for the New Orleans Saints.

Steve had a plethora of really nice cards to choose from and it was hard to just choose three, when there was probably 6 to 7 that really merited consideration.  His Score 1990 issue is among my favorite of all time. It was genius by the designer at Score to take this shot of Jordan and flip the naturally composed photo to a portrait. As a landscape image, it probably wouldn’t have worked at all. In general there are few shots from any set like this with the turf set up parallel to the player.  I am a huge fan of Action Packed, and both his 1990 and 1991 issues.  The 1991 in particular is clean and I love how they were able to get the team logo on the front. The photo of Jordan making that fingertip grab really showcases the hands that made him one of the most reliable tight ends of the 80s and early 90s.  A mainstay of the Tecmo series, Steve was a solid receiver on the Minnesota offense.

G/GS 176/149     REC 498     YDS 6307     AVG 12.7      TD 28       LG 68

Fiedorowicz, CJ

Cards: Topps Chrome 2014, Topps Chrome Mini 2014
Acquired: 2016, EBay

CJ Fiedorowicz is a perfect example of sniping talent off of EBay. Before the 2016 season, CJ was relegated to only being known as a solid run blocker- not the sort of things fans go crazy for in an autograph from a tight end, so prices were pretty cheap on this Houston Texans prospect.  With the arrival of Brock Osweiler as the starting quarterback in Houston (for better or worse,) CJ saw an immediate boost to his bottom line, becoming Os’ bread and butter. The Texans TE’s as a group went from almost dead last to second in the NFL in targets.  In 2016 CJ set career highs across the board as an up and coming player in the league. (One would think that Houston’s offense should feature the tight end to some degree, being that Bill O’Brien’s system is based on the multiple system he ran in New England.) Nonetheless, Fiedorowicz finished 2016 with 54 receptions for 559 yards and 4 TDs.  Now his autographed cards have jumped 5-6 dollars each in resale on EBay- not that I care about reselling them.

CJ had a pretty slow start to his NFL career. A third round choice of the Houston Texans in 2014 out of Iowa, the Texans loved his overall size (6’5″, 265) and thought that he could transition to the pro level at least as a inline blocker behind Garrett Graham. While his rookie season left much to be desired, Fiedorowicz scored his first NFL touchdown in a Week 14 25-13 victory over the Baltimore Ravens. He continued a slow but steady improvement in 2015 catching 17 passes. He had a  breakout season in 2016 as Brock Osweiler’s safety blanket catching 54 passes for 559 yards and 4 TDs, but a severe concussion that he suffered in 2017 drug down severely on his stats.

 

Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.