Cards: Action Packed 1990, ProSet 1990, Action Packed 1991
Acquired: In Person 1990, Dallas Cowboys Training Camp. TTM 1992, Patriots Blitz
A shrewd 5th round pick by the Dallas Cowboys administration in 1984, Eugene Lockhart was witness to the collapse and rebirth of the dynasty. Eugene was the first rookie to start at middle linebacker for the Cowboys and was a tackling machine. Perhaps his best season was in 1989 where he logged well over 220 tackles, yet was playing for the 1-15 Cowboys, and was not voted to the ProBowl. The tackles were a club record. Unfortunately the team decided to jettison him to New England (for the Cowboys drafting rights to Russell Maryland) in 1991 where he’d play through the 1992 season and retire. Over the years I got his autograph at Cowboys Training Camp and then through the mail with the Patriots. Lockhart was shocked by the trading and was heartbroken by the decision. He’d be quoted as saying, “It’s a cold business.. and it’s even colder in New England.” While on New England he’d contribute any way he could to the franchise, even playing as the ‘up back’ on special teams. On a more hilarious note, Lockhart blocked his own team’s punt -with his butt. His teammates would affectionately nickname him ‘Bigbutt’.
Unfortunately Lockhart hasn’t made the best decisions since his playing days- being jailed recently for violating the terms of his bail (from bank and wire fraud), reputedly failing a drug test while out on bail. As of early 2011 he is still awaiting trial.
G/Gs 136/117 Tac 996 Sac 16 Fum 11 Int 6 Yds 83 Avg 13.7 Td 1 Lg 32
Card: Action Packed 1990 Acquired: In Person 1991, Houston Oilers Training Camp
I got a stack of autographs out at camp that year, and future Hall of Famer Mike Munchak was one of them along with Bruce Matthews. Together they formed one of the greatest 1 2 combinations in the NFL on the offensive line, and these two were basically inseparable it seemed, on or off the field once Bruce was drafted in 1983.
Munchak was a heavily decorated lineman coming out of Penn State in 1982 and had all of the skills, metrics, and size that you could want out of a prototypical guard (6’3, 281). The 8th pick taken in the first round by the Houston Oilers, he’d play his entire career in Houston and by 1984 had established himself as a formidable force. In a day when defenses could do a lot more to limit production of the passing offenses, the Oilers typically ranked near the top of the passing charts and near the bottom in sacks allowed with Munchie nailing down the left guard position.
Equally adept at the pass or run, Munchak was named to 9 Pro Bowls and first or second team AP 10 times over his distinguished career. He’d see the rebirth of the franchise from the doormat of the AFC Central (2-14, 1983) to the dominant power of the AFC (12-4, 1993) as injuries to his knees eventually forced his hand into retirement after the 1993 season. Named to the 80s All NFL Team, Munchak had his number retired by the Tennesee Titans (who he never played for).
He has worked his way up the staff of the Titans and after Jeff Fisher’s departure from the franchise in 2011, Munchak was a shoe in for the job. Ironically in 2010, the Texans attempted to steal Munchak off the staff of the Titans to pair him up with Matthews as coaches again in Houston, -but the Titans refused to grant an interview. The Titans then turned around and hired Bruce Matthews off of the Texans’ staff to be offensive line coach reuniting the inseparable linemen again but this time in Tennessee.
Cards: ProSet 1993, Action Packed Rookies 1990
Acquired: In Person 1991, 1993, Dallas Cowboys Training Camp
Alexander Wright was a track and field speedster who tested one of the faster speeds at the combine in 1990. The Dallas Cowboys looking for a compliment to Michael Irvin took Wright in the 2nd round from Auburn. His gaudy 23.6 yards a reception set a school record. Ace would make a splash for the return game, virtually replacing James Dixon in the lineup but not really leave a lasting impression at receiver where despite his speed and leaping ability – had nothing but alligator arms when it came to making the catch.
He’d play 3 seasons in Dallas and then be traded to the Los Angeles Raiders in 1992. Al Davis makes no secret that he’s enamored with speed, and watching Alexander Wright at training camp play for the Cowboys those years in Austin probably just made him salivate. Ace would sit on the bench for the majority of the season. It didn’t help that the Raiders had quarterback problems but along the way the speedster would still catch a 41 yard strike for a touchdown. 1993 would be his most productive season with 4 touchdowns and 27 grabs, while 1994 he’d average 18.4 yards a catch. He’d finish his last two seasons on the St. Louis Rams, playing 11 games over two seasons, being immortalized on both Tecmo Super Bowl with the Cowboys and Tecmo Super Bowl Final Edition on the Rams. Ace was a 2 time NFL’s fastest man winner and as of 2010 still holds the longest kick return in team history with a 102 yard return for the Cowboys.
I got Alex’s autograph at Dallas Cowboys Training Camp. One of my most comically bad moments in autograph collecting history occurred with him and Max Montoya. As Max passed down the line in what was commonly known as ‘autograph alley’ I was coaching another kid on how to get autographs. Max gave me his autograph but passed by the other kid who kept holding out his card.. for Dallas wide receiver Alexander Wright. I told the kid, “That’s not Max Montoya,” but Alex heard me, and embarrasingly took offense thinking that I was making a racial comment. Ace Wright obviously didn’t want to sign my card- or Max Montoya’s for that matter either. Since football Alexander has been active in coaching and currently is in northwestern Texas.