Tag Archives: Arizona Cardinals

Whittaker, Fozzy (3)

sp12 fwhittakerpaut15_fwhittakerCards: SP 2012 #399/750, Upper Deck Star Rookies 2012, TNT UT, Photo Memorabilia, Upper Deck Star Pics 2012, SP 2012 Authentics, Panini UT 2015
Acquired: IP 2016, Mighty Fine Burgers Battle of the Beast, Coop UT Celebration.
See Also: Fozzy Whittaker, Fozzy Whittaker (2)

Fozzy’s NFL career has required a lot of grit and a good agent. He’s clawed his way into the lineup tntcol fwhittakerwith Carolina where he serves primarily as a 3rd down scat back for the Panthers offense, after brief stops in Arizona, Cleveland, and San Diego. During the last 2 seasons, Fozzy has played in 25 games, starting 2.  He’s rushed 57 times for 253 yards and 2 TDs, while catching 17 passes for 124 yards and a TD. He’s also spent a bit of time on special teams returning 20 kicks for 471 yards.
During his relatively brief NFL career, Fozzy has demonstrated a knack for being a dangerous receiver out of the backfield. He has had a few highlights, such as transforming a 26 yard screen pass to a diving TD against the Saints, and a swing pass 39 yards across the middle for a TD against the Cardinals in the Wild card game of the 2014  playoffs.

A great fan favorite, Fozzy signs at
all events, and volunteers regularly for team events to meet fans. At the Mighty Fine Burgers
Battle of the Beast event, Whittaker was in rare form. As the maitre ‘d of the event he was in charge of motivating local high school players to eat as much as they could. Surrounded by a large and raucous crowd Fozzy was in his element, with a beaming smile, having a great time. Whittaker has no shortage amazingly of great photos, whether it is him jumping over a would be tackler, galloping across the grass, or getting a kiss from a baluga whale, I did honestly
ask for a lot.
I’m not really a photo memorabilia kind of guy, but with such a plethora of great shots of Fozzy, I compromised and decided to get some things signed on high quality 4×6 photo stock- which could eventually become a thing for me as I run out of stuff for guys who appear regularly. Still Fozzy kindly and patiently signed everything, while discussing how his career has progressed along.  We talked also briefly about how some of those photos need to make their way onto Carolina Panthers cards of him, and how I thought his efforts in their Super Bowl loss provided the team a much needed spark.

Fozzy was also a guest star on the Comedy Central show Key and Peele which routinely made fun of NFL players and their outrageous names. Instead of lampooning Whittaker, they just had him appear on the skit and say his name. When I asked him about this event, he told me that it wasn’t like they flew him out to LA for the taping- they just shot the video in front of a green screen. After getting one of the Comedy Central photos signed, I gave him the extra one on me, which he really liked and showed his wife.

The fun times didn’t end there as I had two more cards to get Fozzy on at the Coop event in May. He signed his Panini UT card and this really nice SP Authentics canvas card.

Whittaker continues to blossom as a pro. In 2016 he posted career highs across the board with 57 carries for 265 yards and 25 receptions for 226 yards. He also chipped in 12 kick returns for 275 yards- a 22.9 yard average.

Swann, Eric

aprks91 eswannCards: Action Packed Rookies 1991, GameDay 1992
Acquired: 2016, Paid Signing

Eric Swann does not sign through the mail. When I saw this affordable signing, it was a no brainer to go ahead and send out two of my favorite cards.

Swann took a unique route to the pro level. Academically ineligible he was unable to begin college at NC State. Instead he enrolled in JC at Wake Technical, but left soon thereafter to join the semi professional football Bay State Titans in 1990.  During his single season with the Titans, Swann rocked the league with 72 total tackles, 11 sacks, 4 blocked field goals, and 4 forced fumbles playing at both defensive end and tackle.

The Arizona Cardinals fell in love with Swann’s unusual combination of size (6’3″, 311), strength (bench press of 400+ lbs), and speed (4.98 40). They’d select Eric with the 6th pick of the first round during the 1991 draft. He’d be the first non-college player chosen in the first round since Emil Sitko was selected by the Rams in 1946.

gday92 eswannSwann’s rookie season was slowed by injuries. Shortly after taking the field in minicamp, he blew out his knee and had to have arthroscopic surgery.  He’d see action in 12 games though, starting 3, and record 4 sacks to go along with 22 tackles.  Swann over the next few years solidified his role on the Cardinal defense, recording a career high 70 tackles in 1992, and 7 sacks in 1994.  Eric also recorded a safety in 3 straight seasons from 1992 to 1994.

1995 marked the first time in some 30 years that a defensive lineman from the Cardinals was named to the Pro Bowl, as Eric recorded the first of his two nominations, with 45 tackles, a career high 8.5 sacks and 1 forced fumble. A 1996 followup yielded another 3 fumble recoveries, 5 sacks, and 60 tackles.  Although Swann had an equally dominant 1997 campaign with 7.5 sacks and 52 tackles, he did not see any further Pro Bowls. Eric played for the Cardinals through the 1999 season, joining the Panthers for a final season in 2000.  At the time of his departure from the deserts of Arizona, Swann was the most decorated and feared lineman to play for the Cardinals.

Swann briefly popped up on the football radar again in 2007 playing for the Hudson Valley Saints, and later the Arizona Rattlers of the Arena Football League in 2008.  He was also inducted into the Semi-Professional Football Hall of Fame in 1998.

G/Gs 126/87        Tac 386          Sac 46.5         Fum 6
Int 2          Yds  42         Avg 21.0          Td  1         Lg 42t

Word, Barry

pset90 bword pset91 bword cpotyCards: ProSet 1990, ProSet 1991 CPotY, Score Supplemental 1990, GameDay 1992, Action Packed 1991.
Acquired: 2016, Philadelphia Exchange Paid Signing

Barry Word was a surprising comeback story. Out of football for over a year and working for a telephone company in Virginia, Word was called up by the Chiefs to attend camp in 1990. He not only made the squad, Word made a potent one two punch with Christian Okoye. Possessing a similar downhill running style to the Nigerian Nightmare, Barry had 204 carries for 1015 yards and 4 TDs- netting himself NFL Comeback Player of the Year Honors.

sco90sup bwordBarry was originally a 3rd round pick by the New Orleans Saints out of Virginia in 1985. Over his 4 year career for the Cavaliers, Word rushed 405 times for 2257 yards, and 17 TDs. The problem is that Barry tested positive for Marijuana at the combine. The Saints didn’t have a problem with that. They had a problem with the conspiracy to distribute cocaine that he got busted for. The Saints let him go, but retained his rights, while Barry bode his time in ap91 bwordprison.

Word returned to the Saints in 1987.  He suited up for 12 games, and started 1 contest rushing 36 times for 133 yards and 2 TDs.  The Saints were knee deep at runningback however, and in 1988, Barry just suited up for only 2 games. He’d spend the entire 1989 season out of football.

With Barry’s comeback complete, he’d play for Kansas City in 1991 gday92 bwordand 1992. He’d be an excellent insurance policy for Okoye in the meantime. In 1993, Barry was traded to the Vikings.  He’d start 8 games for Minnesota, rushing for 458 yards and 2 TDs on 142 carries. Word then signed with the Arizona Cardinals for the ’94 season, but did not see any action.

He’d retire and has been a difficult find through the mail. I decided to do a paid signing for the enigmatic back through the Philadelphia Connection. The price was so reasonable I was able to get 5 cards signed by him. Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but Barry Word’s autograph is one of the worst I’ve seen in a while. It’s up there with George Zimmer from Men’s Wearhouse with just the ‘B’ and the ‘W’ being legible. The rest is well- there at least. Some great cards however of Barry graced his short lived career. Of them the ProSet 1990 is quite dynamic, and briefly during the short lived heyday of the card boom, along with its Score counterpart were valuable cards. It’s a shame that speculation and over production killed the market so badly its never completely recovered.

G/GS 72/26     Rush 705      Yds 2897     Avg 4.1      Td 16     Lg 53
Rec 30        Yds 280        Avg 9.3        Td 0       Lg 27