Jones, Cyrus

Card: Panini Contenders 2016
Acquired: 2016, Box Breaker

Cyrus Jones was an intriguing prospect coming out of Alabama in 2016.  A decorated punt return and cover man, Jones was a bit undersized for the pro level, but the Patriots liked what they saw and selected Jones in the second round of the 2016 draft. It was a rough debut to say the least for Cyrus, but give Bill Belichick and his staff credit for not giving up on him.

Cyrus finished with 7 tackles on defense, as he contributed mainly on special teams. There he had 11 punt returns for 46 yards, and 8 kick offs for 180. While his bottom line wasn’t horrible for a rookie, it’s the fact that he fumbled 5 times (recovering 2) that really got him in trouble.  It was difficult for Cyrus. Even though the Patriots won the Super Bowl with him, he didn’t really feel a part of it, because of his performance that ended with him on the bench.

Cyrus wanted to become a better player and opted to spend his offseason training for 2017.  Things were looking up for the young speedster, until he suffered a torn ACL in training camp, ending his season before it began.

Barnes, Lew ‘Little Lew’

Cards: Ultimate WLAF 1992, Wild Card WLAF 1992
Acquired: TTM 2017, C/o Home
Sent: 8/9   Received: 9/9  (30 days)

Lew Barnes was an Oregon Duck during his college days from 1983 to 1985. A consistent receiver with blazing speed, Barnes posted 117 receptions for 2048 yards, a 17.5 yards per reception average, and 18 TDs over his time in Eugene. Lew is notable, as he was the only Oregon All-American named on offense between 1971 and 2007.  At the time of his graduation Barnes was the Ducks all-time leading receiver.  He was drafted in the 5th round of the 1986 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears.

The Bears, well, they were hard on their receivers and the Super Bowl Champions were through and through a running team. Lew faced an uphill battle making the squad, but was fortunate. As starting return man Dennis McKinnon underwent his 3rd knee operation- the Bears needed a punt return man and it just so happened that Barnes fit the bill. Lewis made the best of his single season in Chicago. He led the league with 57 punt returns (482 yards), and returned a kickoff 85 yards for a TD.  Barnes broke his left leg during the preseason in 1987 and spent the entire year on IR. The following year in 1988, he got cut during the preseason- only a few days after a 97 yard kickoff return TD got called back over a questionable illegal block against the Cowboys. While the Bears really liked Barnes, he got caught in a numbers game, especially with rookie wide receiver 1st round pick Wendell Davis in camp.

Barnes quickly landed a job with the Falcons, reuniting him with former Duck QB Chris Miller. He’d play in 13 games, and post solid numbers again on punt returns, with 34 for 307 yards, including a 68 yarder, but not see any time at receiver.  He’d then play 2 games in 1989 with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Lew decided to play for the WLAF in 1992.  He’d be selected by the Frankfurt Galaxy.  During his lone season with the franchise, Lew led the team in yards from scrimmage. He’d be 3rd in receptions with 24, but second in yards with 402 and a guady 16.7 YPC. Lew also was counted on for special teams duty, posting 198 yards on 10 kick returns, and 46 yards on 11 punt returns. He’d help the franchise win the division and reach the playoffs for the first time in history, before the league went on hiatus.

Lew had two spectacular action shots from Ultimate and Wild Card. Being that the Galaxy did not play ever in San Antonio, I never was even able to attempt to get any members of the franchise. With his place in Oregon and NFL history, I thought Lew would be easier to locate, but nobody had a whiff of him at all. It took me quite a few years, but after cross referencing a lot of data on Spokeo, I was able to find an address I was confident in and take a shot. He responded and wrote me a very nice note. With excellent cursive penmanship, he thanked me for writing him, and told me that he too had a great-great relative in his past that had my full name, and we could possibly be… related? Small world!

NFL 16/0     REC 4           YDS 54      AVG 13.5     TD 0    LG 14
KR   9       YDS 236        AVG 26.2      TD 1      LG 85t
PR 93      YDS 830        AVG 8.9         TD 0      LG 68

WLAF  REC 24   YDS  402  AVG 16.7    TD 3    LG 86t
KR  10     YDS   198       AVG 19.8      TD 0     LG 33
PR  11     YDS  46           AVG 4.1          TD 0    LG 12

Skansi, Paul


Cards: Score 1991, Action Packed 1990, Topps 1990
Acquired: TTM 2017, C/o Home
Sent:  3/20    Received: 3/30   (10 days)

Paul Skansi is an interesting figure in the history of Seahawks football. I always viewed him as an important participant and observer in the growth of the sport that always seemed to fly under the radar. Skansi is a member of Seahawks- or as I knew them- the pink clad Seattle Knights of Tecmo Bowl. He then returned to play in Tecmo Super Bowl as well. In the midst of this, as the great card rush occurred during the late 80s and 90s, Skansi had numerous football cards of him produced. Now as a key role player for the team, it was surprising that Topps, Score, and even Action Packed produced cards of the tenacious receiver- but ProSet (the biggest card set of the market) did not.  I remember him in that first pack of Action Packed I ever opened, because his name is so unique.

Paul, with his impressive hands and fearless and precise route running, was quite the find for the Seahawks. A local product from the University of Washington, he was a Steve Pelluer favorite. He helped the Huskies win an improbable and exciting Apple Cup with his circus TD catch in 1981. He’d conclude his career at the college with 161 receptions – which still ranks 5th all time on the school’s record books.

Originally a 5th round pick of the Steelers in 1983, he found himself on his hometown Seahawks by 1984. There he became a valued and fearless slot man that was counted on for numerous first downs to keep the chains moving. While he was always overshadowed by the likes of Brian Blades and Steve Largent, Skansi worked best in 3rd down situations.  Initially he also saw time on punt return duties as well. He’d play the next 7 seasons in Seattle, and then briefly try his hand in the CFL with the Ottawa Rough Riders  in 1992.  Skansi’s shining moment came in a thrilling matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs in 1990. As Derrick Thomas played havoc with the Seahawks offensive line all day, Seattle’s offense hung around. In the closing moments trailing 16-10, quarterback Dave Kreig threw a bullet over the middle for 25 yards to Paul for the winning TD.

Paul since his playing days has done a lot of coaching and scouting. After coaching his way through the college ranks, Skansi has joined the Chargers where he’s been a scout for the last 17 years.  He lives outside of Seattle, and always loves to talk Huskies football.

He was kind enough to write testaments on all his cards.

Matthew 6:33
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Philippians 4:13
13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Joshua 1:9
9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

He also enclosed a nice note thanking me for writing him.  As always, players like Paul are the ones I love to get the autographs from, as they always add to the memory I already have of them.

G/GS 115/2     REC 166    YDS 1950     AVG 11.7    TD 10     LG  32
PR 96       YDS  863       AVG 9.0    TD  0     LG 57

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