Tag Archives: Carolina Panthers

Lewis, Tim

Card: Topps AAF 2019
Acquired: TTM 2020, C/o The St. Louis Battlehawks
Sent: 2/18 Received: 2/29 (11 days)
Failure: TTM 2019, C/o Home

Tim Lewis was an imposing defensive back out of Pittsburgh. He was drafted by the Green Bay Packers with their 1st round pick in 1983. Lewis’ career was off to an incredible start. He started just 7 games in his rookie year at right corner, but recorded 5 interceptions for 111 yards while forcing 3 fumbles. In 1984 Tim returned a pick 99 yards for a TD, en route to adding 7 more interceptions on his resume, and 4 more the following year in 1985. It’d be then that Lewis’ football playing career came to an end during 1986, when he suffered a terrible neck injury against the Bears.

In 1987, Tim went into coaching, first at Texas A&M, then later at SMU, Pitt and then back into the pro ranks with the Steelers in 1995. He was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2000 with Pittsburgh, then joined the Giants in that same capacity from 2004-2006. Since that time, he saw stops with the Panthers, Seahawks, Falcons, and 49ers.

2019 was an interesting year in football. With the Alliance of American Football on the radar, Tim took the coaching reins of the Birmingham Iron. They’d finish 5-3, as only the second team to clench a playoff berth in the short lifespan of the AAF. The team very much reflected Tim’s style with a smash mouth defense that begrudgingly gave up yards.

Unable to get his autograph through his home address, I sent this card to the Battlehawks where he was coaching the defensive backs of that solid squad, before COVID wiped out the XFL in 2020.

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Polian, Bill

Cards: Topps AAF 2019 Custom, Panini 2016 HOF
Acquired: TTM 2019, C/o Home
Sent: 11/2 Received: 11/12 (10 days)

Bill Polian has a long and storied career as a football executive that spans across 4 leagues: The NFL, CFL, USFL, and the AAF.

After graduating from NYU in 1964, Polian began his careeer as a scout for the Chiefs in 1978. He also spent time with the Blue Bombers and Alouettes in the CFL as well working his way up to Personnel Director. A one year stint in the USFL Chicago Blitz in 1984, led Polian back to the NFL. He’d then begin a long and storied career with the Buffalo Bills later that year as the Pro Personnel Director. He’d help transform the Bills into an NFL powerhouse laying the foundation for the franchise to appear in 3 consecutive Super Bowls. He was released by the team after they lost their 3rd Super Bowl in 92.

A 3 year hiatus saw Polian return to the NFL with a vengeance as GM of the expansion Carolina Panthers. He was able to assemble enough talent that the franchise posted a expansion record 7 wins in 1995, and an even more impressive 12 wins in 1996. After a down year in 97, Bill joined the Indianapolis Colts as General Manager.

His first move was a no brainer: Selecting Peyton Manning with the first overall pick of the 1998 NFL Draft. Later he’d hire Tony Dungy to coach the franchise, and the rest is history. After the reorganization of the divisions in 2002, the Colts would dominate the South- winning 7 divisional titles under his watch. Indianapolis appeared in two Superbowls winning XLI. He’d not be retained after the 2011 season.

In the meantime he began to roll in the accolades, being inducted into the Buffalo Wall of Fame in 2012, the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015, and the Colts Ring of Honor in 2017.

Bill felt the siren’s lure and resurfaced again in 2018, where he signed up to be Head of Football of the upstart Alliance of American Football, co founding it alongside Charlie Ebersol. The league was able to pull off 8 weeks of football before it collapsed due to financial strain. Bill Polian was greatly disappointed in the failure of the AAF and in chief financial cow Tom Dundon who pulled the plug.

I wrote to Bill after creating a dead on custom of the Topps AAF certified card. Thanks to COVID I had to find a new custom printer. The card quality was outstanding, but I didn’t prep the high gloss card, so the autograph didn’t stick properly to the card. He also signed this Panini HOF card for me as well.

Proehl, Ricky

Card: Action Packed Rookies 1990
Acquired: 2020, Future Considerations
Failure: TTM, C/o Home 2011, 2018, 2019

I’m not really sure what’s up with Ricky Proehl. I’ve seen numerous successes for him, with some that even include the card pictured above, so after 3 failures over the years, where it looked like I was the last person out in the cold, a friend who I help out from time to time had this extra floating around that I could have. I would have liked to get Ricky on a card or two more, but after the 3rd or 4th failure- I routinely in the past look at other options, but for the time being I’ll stand pat with this one and will probably be a bit gun shy about trying him again. This card was a definite set need that I wanted to get out of the way for a while. I only got one when I broke a box years ago originally, so I’ve been out quite a few cards every time I wrote him.

Ricky Proehl gets no respect. He graduated from Wake Forest as virtually the school’s all-time leader in receiving yards (2,949 yards), and TDs (25), as well as ranking in the top five in receptions and receiving average.  He was selected in the 3rd round of the 1990 draft by the Phoenix Cardinals.

His rookie season was a solid debut, when he caught 56 passes for 802 yards and 4 TDs. These numbers were the best by a Cardinals rookie and the first to lead the team since 1950. He then played the next 3 years with the franchise, and set career marks in 1993 (65 receptions, 877 yards, and 7 TDs). Following the 1994 season, Ricky was traded to the Seattle Seahawks, where he played through 1995. In 1996, he rejuvenated his career playing with the Bears for a season, hauling down 58 receptions, for 753 yards, and 7 TDs.

In 1998, Proehl signed with the St. Louis Rams and became a member of ‘The Greatest Show on Turf’. He is perhaps best known for this time of his career, as he was clutch for the team, as a situational starter or when they needed him most. Ricky won two Super Bowls with the Rams over the next 5 seasons recording 207 catches, for 2590 yards, and 16 TDs.

At the grand old age of 35, Ricky still had a few miles left. He joined the Carolina Panthers in 2003, playing the majority of his sunset years with the squad. Over 3 seasons, he posted 1237 yards and 8 TDs for Carolina before one final season in 2006 with the Indianapolis Colts.

Ricky has been involved in coaching since retirement working with the Carolina Panthers from 2011- 2016. He also owns a sports park in North Carolina. His son, Austin followed in his footsteps and was most recently a WR for the Seattle Dragons of the XFL.

It should be noted that despite never posting a 1,000 yard season in his 17 season career, he finished with over 8,000 yards receiving in just 109 starts and recorded under 400 yards in only 5 seasons.

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