Doleman, Chris

Cards: Action Packed 1991, Pro Set 1990, GameDay 1992.
Acquired: TTM 1992, C/o The Minnesota Vikings

Chris Doleman was the 4th overall choice of the 1985 draft. Originally drafted as an outside linebacker, where he was converted to a defensive end in 1987 where he formed a dynamic duo with Keith Millard at DT.  The change was immediate as Doleman became a force at right end, dominating the sack charts for the next 13 seasons notching at least 7 sacks in each season for the Vikings, Falcons, and 49ers.  In the 1987 playoffs the defensive line of the Vikings crushed the Saints and 49ers in the playoffs.  He was traded to the Falcons after the 1993 season, and played there 2 years before going to the 49ers. In his final season he returned at the grand old age of 38 to the Vikings and notched 8 sacks before retiring.  Doleman was named All Pro from 1987-1990, 1992 and 1993, lead the league in sacks with 21 in 1989, and made the Pro Bowl 8 times. His sack totals currently rank him 4th overall in league history and he is listed on the NFL All 90s team. Unfairly cast as a ‘pass rush specialist’ Doleman had a streak of seasons with 90+ tackles (1989-1991) in addition to his high sack totals demonstrating his overall ability against both pass and run.

I sent off for Chris’ autograph in 1992, on a whim not expecting to get his autograph for my collection and received back all 3 cards signed.  Most people still don’t respect ‘sackers and tacklers’ but the league over the last few years has made a concerted effort to induct more of them into the HoF. With John Randle’s impending induction scheduled for 2010, the hope is Doleman should be next in the logger jam of defensive sack talent to go in.

In 2011, Chris was honored by the Vikings who selected him to announce their 2nd round pick during the NFL draft.

Games  232       Tac  914        Sac  150.5        Fum  44       Int   8        Yds  121      TD  2

Collins, Todd

Card: Star Pics 1992
Acquired: TTM 1993, c/o New England Patriots

A powerful hitter who was considered a top 5 linebacker in the 1992 draft.  He transferred from Tennessee to tiny Carson-Newman and was incredibly fast, running a sub 4.3 after rehabbing from knee surgery.  Collins was eventually drafted by the New England Patriots and played for them from 1992-1998, and the Rams through 2000 starting in a Super Bowl once for each team.  Injuries shortened his career and he retired briefly for a season in 1995, but Collins was a ferocious competitor who fought through pain including a separated shoulder, a bum knee, a broken foot, and a strained neck over his tenure in the sport.  In a quirky side note, before a big games Todd practiced a superstition of rubbing stones and charms over previous injuries he’d sustained. Teams even began selling an incense before the game that he apparently liked to use to profit off of his behavior.

In 1992 I began sending out for autographs bulk through the mail to teams. I’d write a letter with 20-30 cards included with it trying to get a bunch of autographs at once. Most of the time I’d get letters back saying I needed to send cards to specific players, but on the rare occasion I’d get lucky with a bulk autograph return. I focused on the really bad teams, the 1-15s and 3-12s of the year because I theorized that they’d probably get less fan mail and Todd was one of my successes during one of my Patriot blitzes.

G  106      Tac  329      Sac  3.5      Fum   4      Int  2      Yds  15     Td 0

Mitchell, Scott

Cards: Action Packed 1990, Score 1990, Ultimate WLAF 1991, Wild Card WLAF 1992.
Acquired: In Person, 1992. San Antonio Riders v. Orlando Thunder. TTM 2010, c/o  Springville High School, UT.
Sent:  3/12   Received: 7/10  (120 days)

Scott Mitchell was drafted by the Dolphins in the 4th round of the 1990 draft from Utah. Mitchell would ride the Dolphins bench for the next three seasons, preparing to be the heir to Dan Marino.  He was loaned to the WLAF in 1992 in an attempt by both the NFL and the WLAF to drum up the talent of the league by showcasing young and promising talent, while providing them ‘game live’ experience. (The Thunder’s drafting of Mitchell was slightly surprising because they already had a talented run ‘n shoot gunslinger in Kerwin Bell.) Mitchell played well that season and led the team to World Bowl II where they lost to the eventual champion Sacramento Surge. Scott returned to the Dolphins and saw starting duty for Miami in 1993- playing so well that he would bolt in free agency for Detroit in the off-season that year.  Initially struggling upon his arrival, Mitchell adjusted to the offense and reclaimed the starting position with a vengeance in 1995. He was with the Lions when they made the playoffs in 1994, 1995, and 1997.  Mitchell would play for the Ravens in 1999 and then finished his career in Cincinnati (2000-2001).  Scott continued to be involved in football and was hired in 2010 to coach for Springville High School in Utah.

I wandered onto the field before the game and picked up Scott’s autograph on his Action Packed 1990 and Score 1990 card. It was a lazy day, and the security didn’t care. As the team hadn’t even started warm ups, I thought it would be okay. Scott rolled his eyes at me as he signed, but then again he may have been looking down at me as he is 6″6′.

After I read his Wikipedia entry, I was able to do the rest of the research to locate Scott at Springville High School. It only took about 4 months for a response from him which was at that time during my return to collecting- quite a wait.

NFL      Games 99   Att  2346   Comp  1301  Pct  55.5
Yds  15692  TD 95  Int  81

WLAF  Games 10   Att  361      Comp  201    Pct  55.7
Yds    2213  TD 12  Int 7

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