Jake Elliot is sort of a Philadelphia Eagles legend- just after one season. He finished his college career at Memphis 202/202 on extra points, and 81 of 104 on field goals, while dominating the school’s total points and field goals record books. Drafted by the Bengals in the 5th round, Elliot competed with Randy Bullock for the kicker job in camp, but ultimately lost out.
After a short stint on the franchise’s practice squad, Jake was signed by the Eagles who needed a kicker in a pinch for the regular season. Along the way, he’d help the Eagles along on their magical Super Bowl journey in 2017 with a 61 yard field goal to beat the Giants- which is the longest field goal in NFL history for a rookie. Jake also set numerous team records as well finishing 26 of 31 on field goals and 39 of 42 on extra points.
In 2018 Jake finished going 26 of 31 on field goals and 33 of 35 on extra points. He notably improved on his field goal conversion percentage inside the 35, and finished with 111 points on the year.
Kevin Coyle has a long coaching resume, and is a well respected and decorated players coach . His coaching story begins in 1978 with the Bearcats of Cincinnati. He’d then embark on a series of stops through the 1980s beginning with the US Merchant Marines (1981), and Holy Cross (1982-1990). Carving out his reputation as a defensive coordinator, he’d then jump up to the challenge with Syracuse (1991-1993), Maryland (1994-1996) and Fresno State (1997-2000).
In 2001, Kevin ascended to the NFL ranks and became cornerbacks coach for the Cincinnati Bengals, eventually being promoted to defensive backs coach in 2003- a position he held through 2011. From 2012 to 2015, Coyle was the Dolphins defensive coordinator, before returning back to the Bengals for 2016 and 2017 as their defensive backs coach again. He spent 2018 working for LSU as a defensive analyst and then decided to be the defensive coordinator of the Atlanta Legends from the fledgling Alliance of American Football.
Early in 2019, he’d be named the head coach of the Legends when Brad Childress resigned. Coyle had to make some tough decisions, so the last problem he needed to deal with multiple coaching changes throughout the season. Despite the bad luck that seemed to chase the Legends, the team finished 2-5 and had the #1 rated defense in the league.
So I opened up the mailbox and inside was a package for me from Coach Coyle himself. When I unsealed the oversized envelope, I found a nice handwritten letter on LSU stationery, my card (signed) and two hats- a purple one signed by him, and the second, a white game worn hat. Coach Coyle’s letter was touching and personal. We talked about my father, and Coach’s passion for the players in the AAF. He too was mightily disappointed in how it all ended. Coach wished me well, thanked me for the extra card that he hadn’t seen yet, and let me know that he had landed on his feet back at LSU as a ‘game analyst’. This response ranks up there as one of my favorite TTM of all-time.
That evening when I was on cloud nine about Coach’s response to me, I found a certified autograph of his from the AAF set for just 5.99. I was elated to add it to the collection- as coaching cards from the set typically ask anywhere from 15-50 dollars. Afterwards the company that I fleeced this card from jacked up their remaining inventory of other player cards to a minimum of 9.99.
Larry Johnson was a star runningback for the Penn State Nittany Lions in 2002. He was a virtuoso out of the backfield, both catching and running for the team and truly was a man among the boys. He’d carry the ball 271 times for 2087 yards and 20 TDs- for a hefty 7.7 yards per carry clip. He’d also catch 41 passes for 349 yards and 3 more scores. He’d finish 3rd in Heisman voting that year behind Iowa QB Brad Banks and USC QB Carson Palmer.
In what was considered to be a weak runningback crop, Larry was selected 27th overall during the 2002 NFL Draft, and was the second RB off the board- after Willis McGahee.
The Chiefs have been going through a renaissance of sorts at runningback over the last 20 years or so. It pretty much started when Priest Holmes jumped into the lead role in Kansas City in 2001. After 3-4 years of solid production with a few games here and there, it was time for Larry to go from being the most solid injury insurance handcuff, to the lead back in KC.
Larry began to assert himself as the lead back in 2005. He’d earn his first of 2 Pro Bowl berths, with 336 carries for 1750 yards, and 20 TDs. Johnson also had 33 receptions for 343 yards and a TD. In 2006, Larry actually topped those numbers, leading the NFL in touches (457) and carries (416- an NFL record), run for 1789 yards and 17 TDs while catching 41 passes for 410 yards and 2 TDs. While Larry did not see the same heavy workload the rest of his career, he’d rush for 559 yards in an injury plagued campaign in 2007, and 874 yards in 2008.
After an acrimonious 2009, Larry was cut midway through the season and finished the year on the roster of the Cincinnati Bengals with 581 yards on 178 carries. During the journeyman phase of his career, Larry spent time on the rosters of the Redskins (2010) and the Miami Dolphins (2011), before finally deciding to retire.
After Curt Warner’s run for glory in Seattle, Penn State had a really bad run of backs come out in the first round who just didn’t make the cut. DJ Dozier, Blair Thomas, Ki-Jana Carter, and Curtis Enis come straight to mind. It wasn’t until 2005, when LJ had his first impact season, that the ‘Penn St Curse’ of runningbacks to come out of college to the pros was lifted.
Johnson has had multiple brushes with the law, possibly due to CTE, as he fits all the hallmarks for the disease. Larry’s done some articles and been interviewed about it- and I feel absolutely terrible for him. I wrote him back in 2014, but did not get a response. This time around he signed these cards pretty promptly.
These are some great cards of Larry that I really liked. The Pacific, while very plain looking is classy and elegant. Upper Deck assumed stewardship of the brand in its final days and really sent them out on a nice, high note. The Upper Deck 2009 has clear and strong photography. The framing and color feels like it was inspired by the Upper Deck Legends 1997 set. – And of course, I can never get enough of the Score 2009 set. It just could’ve used a little sports photo blur on the background, as the expression of that guy with the Patriots sweater on is a bit distracting.
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.