I have been angling to add Ken Harvey to my collection for a very long time. It wasn’t because of his playing career as much as the places we both came from. Heck he and I technically grew up in the same neighborhood since his high school was right down the street from me. Heck he even quit school briefly as he fell in with the wrong crowd briefly, and worked at Fuddruckers over on Anderson Rd in The Village across from Northcross Mall.
I probably even frequented it a kid about the time he worked there. I remembered not being fond of their liquid cheese, and sitting under these giant canvas military grade tents on the patio eating a giant burger with my parents. Anyway, it’s all long gone- even Northcross Mall which is now a mini-Walmart.
Ken got his act together, went back and finished high school and was snatched up by the California Golden Bears. After an impressive college career playing linebacker at Cal wrapped up in 1987, Ken was selected in the first round of the 1988 Draft by the Phoenix Cardinals. – It wasn’t hailed as such a big deal back then, even though being from Austin and being a ‘small town’ kid making it big in the NFL, especially from my neighborhood should’ve been. When I got his first couple of football cards, I was very excited. – I mean here was a player I had a personal connection to from a location basis. We walked the same streets. We had been in the same 7-11’s- maybe to buy those same cherry Slurpees, nachos, and a pack of football cards or two. – Well maybe not the nachos for him but- he immediately became relatable.
Ken played six seasons with the woeful Cards at right outside linebacker. He put up some solid numbers over that period, recording 120 tackles in 1989 and 10 sacks in 1990. I seem to remember he had a falling out in 1993 with the club, signing with the division rival Washington Redskins in 1994. From 1994-1997 Ken was considered one of the most dominant linebackers of the NFC East. He’d earn a Pro Bowl nod in each of those seasons, recording a career high 13.5 sacks in that ’94 campaign. He’d call it a career shortly before the beginning of the 1999 season.
Ken has been honored by the Redskins as one of the 70 Greatest Redskins, and was inducted into the club’s Ring of Fame. He also has received a couple of nominations for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
He currently lives in the DC area and has had an interesting post-professional playing career, working for the Redskins, writing for the Washington Post, and training aspiring tourists to become astronauts. He wrote a very nice note to accompany my cards, saying it’d be an honor to sign them.
Shawn Collins was actually a tight end at Northern Arizona where he set the school’s all-time career records for TDs (24) and catches (201). In 1986, he posted 70 catches for 1,016 yards- a school, single season record, and then followed up with 61 receptions in 1987, and 54 in 1988. Scouts decided that Shawn was best suited to play wide receiver before the 1989 draft. He’d be selected near the back end of round one by the Atlanta Falcons.
Shawn had an outstanding rookie season for the Falcons. He led all rookie receivers with 58 catches, and set rookie franchise records, leading the Falcons with 58 catches for 862 yards. An acrobatic receiver who is fearless in traffic, Collins’ 58 receptions were the most by any rookie during the 80s and 16 of his 58 grabs went for 20 yards or more. He’d be an unanimous 1989 NFL All-Rookie selection.
With a sea change at head coach in Jerry Glanville, the Falcons were expected to be very aggressive at WR, but after landing in Jerry’s doghouse, Shawn’s numbers suffered and he finished with 34 catches for 503 yards and 2 TDs in 90, and just 3 catches for 37 yards in 91. He joined Browns in 1992 and caught 3 more passes for Cleveland. Shawn joined the Bucs in 1993, but did not make the roster. He’d later sign with the Packers and was on their roster for 4 additional games.
Shawn then made a comeback with the Frankfurt Galaxy of the newly retooled World League, catching 18 passes for 215 yards and a TD. Returning stateside, he immediately joined the CFL where he played for the Memphis Mad Dogs and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 1995, posting 29 passes for 536 yards and 2TDs. Shawn played one final year in the Arena Football League for the Iowa Barnstormers catching 5 passes for 52 yards.
Shawn does not sign through the mail at all. I had spied out a signing through Sportscollectors.net at a really fair price, and waited for the event to pop. I was not disappointed and jumped at the chance to have him sign these 5 cards.
Wow! What a rare grab in former USFL and Skins receiver Ricky Sanders! I had most fondly remembered him of course as a member of the Smurfs or the Fun Bunch as he and the WR corps of the Redskins were called at the time. There was also his heroics in Super Bowl XXIII and also in the Tecmo Bowl series where he was elusive and electric as well. Ricky also had some great cards along the way, and I hoped eventually one day I’d get them signed.
A local sports star hailing from Belton, Tx- a straight shot up I-35 halfway between Austin and Waco, Ricky Sanders played collegially at SW Texas State. The Bobcats were located out of San Marcos, Tx- halfway between Austin and San Antonio on I-35. At 5’11”, 182, hailing from a tiny school, Ricky stood ZERO chance of getting on the NFL’s radar, but lucky for Sanders, the USFL was waiting.
He’d sign with the Houston Gamblers in 1984. With a Run N Shoot offense with Jim Kelly at QB, Ricky had an incredible year in his rookie season, posting 101 catches for 1378 yards and 11 TDs, including a career long 77 yard TD. After the USFL folded in 1986, Ricky found himself a home with the Washington Redskins. With the Redskins, he’d pair up with Art Monk and Gary Clark to form one of the most devastating trios in the NFL. Ricky posted back to back 1,000 yard seasons in 1988 and 1989, and scored a career high 12 TD catches as well in 88. Sanders played with the Redskins through 1993, and concluded his career on in 1995 with the Atlanta Falcons.
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.