Maynard, Don

Cards: Topps 1970, Upper Deck Legends 1997
Acquired: TTM 2018, C/o Home*
Sent:  8/4   Received: 8/20    (16 days)
* Donation enclosed of $10 per flat

Don Maynard is considered the best receiver in Jets history, one of the best receivers in AFL history, and one of the best receivers in NFL history.  At the time of Maynard’s retirement he held the NFL record for career receptions and yards. He was the first player to crack the 10k barrier in receiving yards. An amazing feat considering it was still during an era where the passing game had not fully developed yet. Don epitomized consistency and longevity. (Oddly enough he never led the league in catches at any time but his sheer numbers made up for it en force.) 

Maynard was originally drafted by the New York Giants in 1957, but only played one lone season for them before bolting North to play for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL. He’d return shortly thereafter to the fledgling AFL in 1960- becoming the first signee of the then New York Titans (later Jets). Over the next 10 seasons in the AFL he’d be named to the All-AFL team 4 times. In the final season before the AFL NFL merger, he’d help the Jets win Super Bowl III and notably graced the cover of the big game’s program guide as well. 

Don joined the Rams in 73, but ultimately ended up on the St. Louis Cardinals for a lone season, retiring after a bout with the WFL playing for the Shreveport Steamer/ Houston Texans. 

Maynard played college ball for Rice, and later Texas Western (UTEP). He was a proven runningback and defensive back, but was unpolished gold at receiver. His number has been retired by the Jets,  got his gold jacket along the way, and has been a Grand Marshall for UTEP at one of their parades. He lives outside of the El Paso area, in relative anonymity. 

I had been wanting Don for sometime but I thought he was out of reach. I really liked these cards of his and always wanted to get them signed so I went ahead and took a shot with a small donation. In the end I also had a Pro Set Super Bowl III card that I opted to send to Matt Snell instead (because he should’ve been MVP). Still the Topps 1970 is iconic, while the Upper Deck Legends 1997 hits all the marks for perfection. 

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Prukop, Dakota

Card: Sage 2017
Acquired: 2018, Box Breaker

Dakota Prukop. Wow, now that’s a name from Vandergrift HS in Austin, Tx. So Prukop played college ball at Montana St. He threw for 2557 yards and 18 TD passes, while rushing for 946 yards on the ground and 14 TDs after being named starter in 2014 over 8 starts. Dakota Prukop returned again for 2015 and passed for 3025 yards and 28 TDs. He also carried the ball for 797 yards and 11 TDs rushing. He’d transfer to Oregon in 2016, but was benched during the 6th contest of the year, after putting up 1214 yards and 8 TD passes. After going unselected during the 2017 draft, Prukop signed with the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL. 

He earned his way onto the roster after an impressive preseason debut, leading the Argos to a win throwing a late TD pass. As the 3rd string QB, Prukop didn’t really see any significant QB time in 2017, rather he saw action on special teams lodging 6 tackles. He then fought his way up the roster again during camp to 3rd string in 2018.

Ross, Aaron

Card: Press Pass Trophy Club 2007, Panini UT 2016
Acquired: In Person 2018, 31 Camp

I got Sam Huff and Aaron Ross confused often as both had very similar college trajectories playing for the Texas Longhorns and winning the Jim Thorpe Award in consecutive years so I never realized I didn’t have Aaron in my Longhorn collection.

Aaron Ross played for the Texas Longhorns from 2003- 2006, honing his game initially behind future NFL pro Nathan Vasher.  He’d also see extensive time on special teams. He’d really come into his own by 2005, recording 46 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and 3 interceptions for 40 yards as the Longhorns won the National Championship. Ross’ displayed immense vision and speed on put returns with 34 punt returns for 500 yards and 2 TDs. 2006 was a banner year for Ross, as he earned the Jim Thorpe Award, with 57 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, a sack, and 6 interceptions for 7 yards. On punt returns again, Aaron had 23 returns for 240 yards and a TD. 

Aaron was selected by the New York Giants with the 20th overall pick of the 2007 NFL draft. He finished his rookie season with 42 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 3 interceptions for 51 yards, and a 43 yard TD against the New York Jets- culminating in a Super Bowl victory over the Patriots.  He’d have another solid season in 2008 posting 52 tackles, 3 interceptions for 58 yards and a TD.  A hamstring injury pretty much wiped out his 2009 season and when he returned in 2010, Aaron was relegated to the bench. He’d return to the stater role in 2010, earning 60 total tackles, 4 interceptions and 2 fumble recoveries, punctuating the Giants Super Bowl win again over the Patriots. 

He’d sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2012 and start 9 contets for the team. Ross recorded 46 total tackles, and 3 pass deflections. He’d return to the Giants for 2013, and finish eventually his career with the Ravens in 2014.

I really liked the Panini UT set that came out but I was disappointed because they lumped all the sports in there and the breadth of players didn’t seem too deep. Still the design is pretty good, even if it bears the hallmark shadow posterization that many of the cards of this era have.

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