Cards: Upper Deck 1991 Browns Checklist, GameDay 1993, University of Texas Upper Deck 2011 All-Time Alumni, ProSet 1992, SkyBox Premium 1993-1994, Upper Deck College Legends 2011 Acquired: TTM 2020, C/o Home Sent: 1/6 Received: 1/14 (8 days) See Also: Eric Metcalf, Eric Metcalf (2)
Eric Metcalf is one of my favorite players during the heyday of my childhood, so I was happy to make him my first success of 2020. With so many cards signed by him at this point, you’d think that I’d written him more than once (successfully) previously- but no- the last time he signed for me was way back in 2014. How time flies!
Eric had some stellar cards over the years, and with me still needing him on his All-Time Alumni card, and his College Legends card, I figured I could shoot out a stack to him and take a shot.
Eric is one of the few pros that actually follows me on Twitter- which is very humbling. I’ve always felt that YFS guys do not get the love from the HoF that they should, and although he has been nominated on a few occasions, Eric has not gotten in.
Eric’s cards from this lot no doubt are again, epic looking. They always seem to catch him slashing out of the backfield into the open field. I loved his Upper Deck Legends entry from 2011. In fact I am surprised that they didn’t use this as his main shot on his UT cards.
The Skybox Premium came out at a time when dropping a color across a background was novel. Unfortunately these cards commanded too high a sticker price for me as I was exiting the market. I have slowly picked up one or two here or there over the years.
ProSet was done in my mind after a few packs at Cowboys training camp in ’92. I did not like how they changed the card design midway through the set and found it confusing and disorganized. I liked this version of the set and how they moved the ProSet logo down by the player name, allowing the canvas to be more free to showcase the player.
Upper Deck was a late entry into the football card market. I didn’t really think too much of their initial NFL set, however I loved their artistic subsets- especially their checklists which focused on team MVPs. The design of this card is just superb, and in a sense very timeless. I love the circle behind Eric. What possessed this artist to put that back there? It blends nicely into his helmet, and then the horizontal lines across it lower on the canvas- It’s just so delicate and well thought out.
Pete Metzelaars made his mark at tiny Wabash, as a two sport star playing basketball and football. He was selected in the 3rd round of the 1982 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. After catching just 27 passes in 3 seasons for the Seahawks, Pete was traded to the Buffalo Bills in 1985.
He caught 49 passes for 485 yards and 3 TDs in 1986 starting his first 16 game slate. In 1988, Pete put up another 33 passes for 438 yards and a TD. After a few years being used primarily as a blocking tight end Pete saw an uptick in 1992, and then caught a career high 68 passes for 609 yards and 4 TDs in ’93 starting all 16 games for the first time since 1989. Metzelaars played one more season for the Bills in 1994, adding another 49 catches for 428 yards and 5 TDs.
In 1995, Pete was allowed to walk via free agency. He joined the expansion Carolina Panthers for a season catching 20 passes and recording 3 TDs. He then played 2 more additional seasons for the Detroit Lions in 1996 and 1997 catching 17 passes in both years. Metzelaars retired after the ’97 season, and decided to go into coaching.
Pete spent 5 years honing his craft at the high school level as an offensive coordinator. He then coached in Europe with the Barcelona Dragons in 2003, and Wingate College as well. In 2004, Pete joined the Indianapolis Colts where he saw the most success, coaching the offensive line from 2004-2011. He then saw a one year stint as tight ends coach of the Bills in 2012, and then the Chargers in 2014 and 2015. After spending another two years back at the high school level, Metzelaars coached offensive line for the Atlanta Legends of the Alliance of American Football in 2019.
Card: Panini Unparalleled 2016 Acquired: IP 2020, Houston Roughnecks/ Tampa Bay Vipers Joint Practice
After he was selected by the Roughnecks, I was willing to pay a couple of bucks to get this beauty of a card of Phillip. Although the canvas is blasted out with stars on a shiny background- it’s a very unique design and a solid shot of Walker surveying the battlefield. I then tried to figure out the best time to get him to sign this card, being that I’d have to make a long drive from Central Texas to Houston. I passed up a few events that he was the marquee player at, in favor of maybe a bigger event where I could corral him.
Look no further than the Houston Roughnecks/ Tampa Bay Vipers joint practice. I got wind of the event and figured it’d be my best shot at getting both the Roughnecks and Vipers. As a season ticket holder, the league gave us ‘access’ to the field- a joke of a cornered off area on the home side between the 20 and the end zone. I saw Phillip warming up and asked him for his autograph. He gestured to his teammate he was tossing the ball with and came over to sign his card. It’s a nice autograph, minus the smudge, but I see these mainly as like tattoos or scars- rather than blemishes. – They add personality.
Phillip Walker played in college for the Temple Owls from 2013 to 2016. A dynamic passer and playmaker for the Owls, he set numerous school passing and career passing records for the school. He finished with 10,668 yards (830/1,458) for 74 TDs (44 INT). Signed as an undrafted free agent by the Indianapolis Colts after the 2016 NFL Draft, he found himself on and off the team’s practice squad over the next 3 seasons.
In 2020, Phillip was assigned by the XFL to the Houston Roughnecks, after he was recommended by former Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. He’d compete with Connor Cook for the starting quarterback job in the Run N Shoot offense and win the starting job.
Walker was an untamed, wild talent, in the XFL to say the least. Every week he’d razzle and dazzle, impressing the local crowd and winning hearts and minds for the league. PJ led the team to a 5-0 record, completing 119 of 184 passes, for 1,338 yards, 15 TDs to just 4 interceptions. PJ had incredible pocket presence and awareness, but didn’t take off scrambling at the drop of a hat. He finished with 24 carries for 99 yards and a TD. Every game the home crowd was behind PJ chanting ‘PJ MVP’. It was electric.
After the XFL folded, PJ signed a free agent contract with the Carolina Panthers for the upcoming 2020 NFL season. He’d be reunited with his former college coach Matt Rhule, who had become the HC in Carolina. Walker backed up Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback, starting an 11/22 matchup against the Detroit Lions, and notching his first professional win.
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.