Tag Archives: Atlanta Falcons

Sanu, Mohamed

Card: Topps Strata Clear Cut 2012
Acquired: 2017, EBay

Rutgers is not exactly known as a football factory in college circles, so when a guy like Mohamed Sanu gets selected, you have to cheer for the underdog. Other people didn’t feel that way, as somebody called up Mohamed on draft day and pranked him into thinking that he’d been taken in the first round by the Bengals. Things worked out though as Cincinnati selected Mohamed in the 3rd round of the draft instead.

Mohamed had an amazing run as a Junior playing for the Scarlet Knights, posting 115 receptions for 1206 yards and 7 TDs.  In his 3 years at Rutgers, Sanu had 210 receptions for 2263 yards and 12 TDs. He also saw a decent amount of time rushing the ball, recording 125 attempts for 653 yards and 9 TDs.

He’d play for the Bengals from 2012 to 2015. Mohamed’s best season came in 2014 when he caught 56 receptions for 790 yards and 5 TDs- including a 76 yard bomb. Somehow he got lost in the rotation in his final year in Cinci. He’d sign as a free agent with Atlanta in 2016. He’d start 15 games and catch 59 balls for 653 yards and 4 TDs. During the playoffs he’d post 11 receptions for 121 yards and 2 TDs helping the Falcons reach the Super Bowl.

He’s a sneaky pick up late in drafts that pretty much everybody is aware of now. In 2017, Sanu caught 67 passes for 703 yards and 5 TDs, and in 2018 is on pace to near or eclipse those number by the close of the season.

Smith, Tony (RB)

 Cards: GameDay 1992, Action Packed Rookies 1992, Classic 1992
Acquired: TTM 2018, C/o Home
Sent: 4/10      Received:  4/28  (18 days)

A speedy and dangerous all-purpose man while at Southern Mississippi, Tony Smith got to play alongside the likes of Brett Favre and Michael Jackson on offense. Over his career at the school he set school records, returning 2 kickoffs and 2 punts for touchdowns. In 1991 he ran for over 1,000 yards, (5.1 yards per carry) despite wearing a cast on his hand for half the season. Tony culminated his college career when he was named the Senior Bowl MVP after rushing for 72 yards on 12 carries.

The Falcons were in their 3rd year of the Glanville era. They traded away Brett Favre to the Packers, and cut future CFL career leading rusher Mike Pringle. The Falcons had an age purge at RB and the previous season they had failed to have any runningback reach 500 yards rushing. Steve Broussard and Erric Pegram would be the top backs out in the Red Gun offense. The team felt it still had a lot of needs, so Glanville was pretty unhappy when the team selected Tony Smith with the 1st round pick that they had gotten from the Brett Favre trade. You see Glanville didn’t have power over the draft and really thought the team should select a defensive back. (To put salt in the wound, Dale Carter, Darryl Williams, Ashley Ambrose, Darren Woodson, and Steve Israel all came off the board after this selection and had solid defensive back careers.) Much to Tony’s credit though- he was the highest rated tailback in the draft.

Smith was slow to get into camp- and was considered a holdout. He’d be the last first round pick to sign from the 1992 draft.  He was also the wrong style of back. Glanville liked smashmouth in-your-face backs, but Tony was a studder-step and make them miss back. He got out there his rookie season and started 6 games posting 87 carries for 329 yards and 2 TDs, but oddly enough, he’d never start another game again for the Falcons in the next two seasons.

Fans clamored to see more of Tony, and I am sure Tony was ready to show them what he had, so he put some time in on special teams where he demonstrated his capability as a dangerous return man. He finished 1993 with 38 kick returns for 948 yards and a 97 yard touchdown. Smith also returned punts- putting up a respectable 32 returns for 255 yards and a 51 yard long.  He saw even less activity in 1994- putting up only 408 total yards from scrimmage. Tony just couldn’t get out of Jerry Glanville’s doghouse.

It looked like a new start for Tony in 1995. The Falcons left him exposed in Free Agency and the expansion Carolina Panthers were providing him a new chance. While Tony had an impressive preseason, he suffered a gruesome injury against the Bears breaking both his tibia and fibia bones. He spent the entire ’95 season on IR. After rehabbing and spending a year away from football, Tony attempted a comeback with the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL in 1998. He returned to the NFL in 1999 with the Philadelphia Eagles- but tore his hamstring in camp ending his career.

It is a shame that Tony’s career ended the way it did, but at least he is at peace with it. He had some great cards over that short run, with these 3 representing some of my favorites.

G/GS 33/6   RUSH 87      YDS 329        AVG 3.8      TD 2           LG 32
REC 2      YDS  14              AVG 7.0               TD 0          LG 8
KR 61      YDS 1453         AVG 23.8            TD 1          LG 97T
PR 56      YDS 485            AVG 8.7                TD 0         LG 51

Ambrose, Ashley (2)


Cards: Action Packed Rookies 1992, Classic Blister 1992, GameDay 1992
Acquired: TTM 2018, C/o Colorado
Sent:  3/16   Received: 3/29  (13 days)
See Also: Ashley Ambrose

So Ashley’s autograph has come a long way since 1992 or 1993, when it more or less represented a signature, at least compared to what I got through the mail in 2018.

Since his time as the defensive backs coach for the Golden Bears of Cal, Ashley has been quite busy. He worked as an intern for the Saints in 2013, and followed that up with one year stints with the Idaho Vandals (2014) and Texas State (2015) as their cornerbacks coach. From 2016 to 2017, he coached for the Broncos of Boise State, and currently is at Colorado as their defensive backs coach- a capacity he held with the Buffs way back in 2010.

Ashley gets no respect. The venerable cornerman finished with 42 career interceptions, which is quite respectable in this day and age of football. He had some great cards over the years. After I got his autograph on his Star Pics cards, I had always wanted to get back around to him and get his Action Packed Rookies card signed- really as a set need, however his GameDay card really takes the cake in this spectacular action shot. It’s well framed and the action barely breaks the image plane at the top of the card.

Ashley’s TTM trail had grown cold. I noticed a few attempts through colleges he had previously coached with, so I made sure I had his current whereabouts in mind before I sent this out.