Tag Archives: Carolina Panthers

Cook, Connor

Cards: Panini Contenders 2016 GameDay, Panini Contenders 2016 Passing Grades, Leaf Draft 2016, Leaf Draft 2016 All-American, Score 2016 ScoreCard, Panini Elite 2016, Topps XFL 2020, Panini Prism 2015, Panini Draft 2015
Acquired: IP 2019, Houston Roughnecks Fan Meet & Greet.
TTM 2020, C/o Home
Sent: 7/3 Received: 7/24 (21 days)

Connor Cook was a 3 year starter for the Michigan State Spartans. He played college ball there from from 2011 to 2015, and saw action in 43 games, passing for 9,184 yards and 71 TDs to 22 interceptions. Cook was selected by the Oakland Raiders in the 4th round of the 2016 NFL Draft. The Raiders saw value selecting him and decided to groom Cook behind incumbent quarterback Derek Carr.

He was pressed into his first starting duty- a grinder of a game against the Houston Texans in the first round of the 2016 Playoffs. The Raiders fell 27-14, as Cook threw for 161 yards and a TD to 3 interceptions. Connor saw no action in 2017 and was cut in 2018 after the Raiders traded for AJ McCarron.

Connor spent the next year on and off the rosters of the Panthers, Bengals and Lions. He was selected in the first round of the XFL 2020 Draft by the Houston Roughnecks. I sort of questioned the move considering the Roughnecks already had Philip Walker allocated to the team, but coach June Jones insisted that he was picking the best player available with NFL experience.

I pulled every card I had of Connor and added 2 or 3 more hoping to get Connor’s autograph during the season. Luck was on my side as the Roughnecks frequently put together fan events.

The Roughnecks put together an event in the Woodlands where they had Connor Cook and Sammie Coates at. It was a no brainer. I was going to call it a success if I could get 2 or 3 cards signed- but in the end I was able to get all 5 knocked out along with a stack of cards of Sammie as well.

The event itself went well. The players were friendly and approachable. Connor talked to me one on one for a few minutes. We talked about briefly about the AAF and how it failed before he had to go up on stage. There Connor really shined, with a quick wit and clever smile. Afterwards both he and Sammie signed more autographs for fans. I was able to get them both on posters before I headed back out.

Of this group, the Panini Contenders cards really stood out. I love the Gameday cards. I wasn’t really fond of either of the Leaf entries, but the Score Scorecard makes up for the Leaf cards trite design.

Well the quarterback competition between Cook and Walker apparently went down to the wire. In the end PJ was named starting quarterback of the Roughnecks. I really had hoped to see more of Connor, but PJ played lights out the entire way. Still I think Connor has the prospects of being one of the brighter stars in a spring league if he decides to try that route again.

I got a few more cards of his after being caught flat footed at the Roughnecks season ticket holder event, but the cards, ordered 2 weeks before the league shut down- didn’t arrive until after 2 months after the league shut down. Still that gave me a chance to add his Topps XFL 2020 card to the batch, which really pushed him up on my list of players I wanted to get an autograph from thru. I really liked how the Elite cards were designed in 2016 as well. The abstract design is actually really smart as the lines all cross artistic points of emphasis. It’s a beautiful card, but like many the distribution kills my interest in making this one a set to collect. I’m not very hot on the gaudy Prism set, but I liked the die cut helmet one enough as it is eye catching.

Settle, John (2)

Cards: Score 1990, Action Packed 1990, Topps 1990
Acquired: TTM 2019, C/o The University of Wisconsin
Sent: 2/4 Received: 2/14 (10 days)
See Also: John Settle

John still has it after all these years. He signed these cards in only 10 days care of Wisconsin. Much to my chagrin he did sign the autograph box on the back of the Action Packed card, but still these were very nice to add to my collection and probably wrap up any card of his that he had over the years.

After coaching for the Panthers from 2011 to 2012, John served one season with the Cleveland Browns in 2013. He returned to the college ranks and picked up a year with the University of Pittsburgh, before returning to the University of Wisconsin. John is a fixture as a RB coach since retirement, and has worked wonders tutoring many young backs to the pro ranks.

Allen, Jared

Cards: Score 2009, Upper Deck 2009, Adrenalyn 2009
Acquired: TTM C/o Home, 2019
Sent: 4/6 Received: 4/18 (12 days)

Jared played college ball for the Idaho State Bengals from 2000 to 2003. It should be noted that Allen experienced exponential growth in almost every statistical field every year he played for the Bengals. In his Senior year of 2003, he started 12 games and posted 102 combined tackles, 28 tackles for loss, 17.5 sacks, 9 pass deflections, 6 forced fumbles, and 3 fumble recoveries- earning him the Buck Buchanan award for the nation’s best D-I defensive player. Despite Jared’s resume and imposing physique (6’6″, 265), he was not selected until the 4th round of the 2004 draft by the Kansas City Chiefs.

Jared played 4 seasons for the Chiefs and much like his college career, experienced a strong upward curve in his statistical production. In his final season in Kansas City, Jared logged an NFL leading 15.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss, while catching 2 TD passes moonlighting on offense. He was named both to the Pro Bowl and an All-Pro.

Jared was traded by the Chiefs to the Vikings in 2008 in a blockbuster trade. Taking his talents to the NFC North, Jared again notched 2 more AP and Pro Bowl seasons with consecutive 14.5 sack seasons. After a ‘down year’ in 2010, Allen had a career high 22 sacks- missing the NFL sack record by just .5 sacks in the final game. He’d play two more years in Minnesota, and finish with an impressive 85.5 sacks in just 6 years.

Allen moved on to the Bears for 2014, but was moved to an OLB capacity in Chicago’s 3-4 alignment and record 5.5 sacks on the season. Jared was on the move again, traded to the Carolina Panthers 4 games into the season. He’d play in his first Super Bowl as the Panthers fell to the Broncos 24-10.

After the season, Jared retired but holds the NFL records for safeties (4-tied), consecutive games with a sack (11), and times leading the league in sacks (2). He has led a very interesting life post-retirement and has worked in charitable work with the Juvenile Diabetes Program, the NFL-USO tours, and the Wounded Warrior Project. Outside of that he’s an avid outdoorsman and curler, and put together a team of former NFL players to compete at a variety of national curling competitions.

I am so proud to be a part of @theAAF and be able to help change the game forever.

– Jared Allen

In 2018, Jared stunned the football world when he joined Bill Polian, Troy Polamalu, Justin Tuck, and founder Charlie Ebersol on stage to announce the Alliance of American Football. In the well rehearsed but quickly staged news conference Jared and Justin Tuck got up on a stage and sold the product like a tech start up. Forget the XFL. I was in and I was excited for the A-A-F.

Jared was in full throttle too, as both an investor and also in player relations. Oddly though, this was the most we saw of Jared for the remainder of the AAF’s short duration. He continued to strongly trumpet the league on social media, but as 2019 rolled around, this came to an abrupt stop.

In April of 2019, after hemorrhaging cash for most of its duration the AAF ended after just 8 games, as chief investor Tom Dundon pulled out his remaining investment.

Considering Jared’s through the mail track record, I was shocked to get this one back, little less in 12 days. I’d like to believe that the content of the letter matters and that players do read them.

Jared has a lot of great looking cards. It was very hard to trim it down to even 3 to send him, however I chose these 3 from his time as a member of the Minnesota Vikings. For once I was sort of underwhelmed by a Score 2009 entry, purely because it’s Jared celebrating after a sack. His hands both annoyingly go into the margin of the design and make the photo placement look careless. I really like the look of both the Upper Deck and the Adrenalyn cards while the Adrenalyn has a nice reflecting shine to it.

G/GSTACSACFUM
187/181642136.032
INTYDSAVGTDLG
6559,1136