Tag Archives: cincinnati bengals

Williams, Reggie (LB)

Cards: ProSet 1989, Action Packed 1990, Action Packed Whizzer White Award 1991, ProSet 1991 WLAF Inserts
Acquired: TTM 2020, C/o Home
Sent: 10/5 Received: 10/17 (12 days)

Reggie Williams played college football at Dartmouth, and was a 3 time All-Ivy League selection from 1973-1975. Reggie was so dominant that he caught the attention of pro scouts, parlaying his efforts to become a 3rd round selection of the Cincinnati Bengals in 1976.

Over the next 14 seasons, Reggie went on to become one of the Bengals best draft picks. He played in an unheard of 206 games (one short of Ken Riley for the franchise record), and virtually owned the entire Bengals record books at linebacker for every statistical category including: career tackles, sacks, interceptions, and fumbles. He also earned the Whizzer White Award in 1985, the NFL Man of the Year Award in 1986, and SI’s Sportsperson of the Year in 1987.

Reggie made waves next as he went on to work in the front office of the World League of American Football‘s New York-New Jersey Knights franchise in 1991, becoming one of the first African American General Managers in any pro capacity.

He’s been at the frontlines of visionary ideas leading sport and NFL initiatives and then working with Disney overseeing their recreational and sports divisions since then. In the final years of his time with the Bengals he also served as a city councilman, and was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2007.

Still despite all this, and being virtually an icon with Cincinnati, Reggie has been largely unheralded by his former franchise. A true warrior, he’s had over 25 knee surgeries since his career concluded, and it has taken its toll on his leg. He’s written a book about his life, ‘Resilient by Nature’, where he gives a great wealth of insight into his life, and shares his dedication and willingness to overcome whatever obstacles he faces.

I had wanted to get Reggie’s autograph for sometime. He is the epitome of who I like to get an autograph from and for whom I like to write about. He has had an interesting journey both in and out of the sport- and I feel that he is someone who doesn’t get enough accolades for all he’s done. I wrote him an email through Facebook and he was kind enough to respond to me. We talked briefly about his foray into the World League- where he told me, “He loved the travel.” I sent him some old photos of magazine clippings from Gametime magazines as well that he enjoyed very much. He was doing a book signing in the area, so I sent him a stack of extra cards for his personal collection and to hand out to fans. A man of his word, Reggie signed these cards in no time flat for me.

G/GSTACSACFUM
206/196N/A62.523
INTYDSAVGTDLG
1619412.1154T

Ross, Kayaune

Card: Topps AAF Certified 2019
Acquired: 2019, EBay

Before Kayaune joined the Kentucky Wildcats in 2016, he saw valuable playing time at Phoenix College (JC). Over his two years with the Wildcats, Ross caught 21 passes for 296 yards and a TD. A track man, NFL teams were intrigued by Ross’ speed and he spent some time on the preseason rosters of the Bengals, Seahawks, Colts, and up north with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Kayaune joined the AAF in 2019 and was assigned to the Memphis Express. The team or league was confident in his star power and made jerseys of him before the season, but after the week 2 contest against the Hotshots, he had just one catch for 7 yards on the season. Coach Singletary, attempting to churn the roster to bring some life to the WR corps, Kayaune was cut from the Express, ending his AAF stay after 2 games.

Smith, Derron

Card: Topps AAF Now 2019, Panini Prism 2015, Crown Royale 2015, Sage 2015, Score 2015, Topps XFL 2019,
Acquired: IP 2019, SA Commanders Team Signing Dick’s Sporting Goods at The Rim.
Ebay, 2020
TTM 2020, C/o Home
Sent: 7/13 Received: 7/24 (11 days)
Failure: TTM 2019, C/o The Minnesota Vikings

An all-star at Fresno State, Derron was named first team All WAC three times while playing for the Bulldogs. He pulled down 7 interceptions and 4 sacks in 2013, and 7 pass breakups and 80 tackles in 2014. Derron’s 15 career interceptions tied him for 5th on the school charts. A perfect storm emerged however with a hernia injury, (that caused Derron to miss the Senior Bowl and the combine,) and a bad pro day, which caused his draft day stock to drop. Scouts however, loved his ability to keep his eyes focused on the ball and the action in front of him, as well as his man cover skills.

Derron was selected in the 6th round in the 2015 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. He’d spend the next two seasons there, eventually landing on their practice squad in 2017, where he was signed off the Bengals by the Cleveland Browns. Over that period he got some game time experience posting 16 total tackles, a fumble recovery, and a pass deflection. Cut by the Browns in 2018, Derron kept in football shape, prepping for his next shot.

In late 2018, Derron got his next shot- An invitation to play for the new Alliance of American Football. He’d be traded by the Fleet to the San Antonio Commanders in December for Damontre Moore. The Commanders were already steeped in defensive secondary talent, and looking to add depth at safety alongside guys like Orion Stewart and Kurtis Drummond. Derron would also be coached in the secondary by longtime NFL veteran and ballhawk Bill Bradley.

“He’s quiet in the DB room, but he’s the one guy that the guys look to. He’s kind of the calming factor in a very raucous bunch of defensive backs on our team.”

– Commanders GM Daryl Johnston

Derron made a lot of noise near the end of camp, and actually didn’t even start until Week 3 of the 2019 AAF season against the Iron. From there on however, he was lights out.

Derron in Week 4 earned AAF Defensive Player of the Week Honors, when he single-handedly demolished the Arizona Hotshots. He’d pick off a John Wolford pass and race 66 yards the other direction for a TD to open up the scoring. Then later in the game, he’d pick off Wolford again as the Hotshots tried to claw their way back into the contest. The following week against the Legends, he stepped in front of an errant Aaron Murray pass late in the game, and took that pass 87 yards to paydirt.

On the season Derron finished with 22 solo stops, 11 combined tackles, 8 pass deflections, and 3 interceptions for 153 yards and 2 TDs. Although the league ceased operations after 8 contests, Smith was posthumously named the AAF Defensive Player of the Year by Pro Football Focus for his outstanding play.

“On 309 snaps in coverage, Smith led the league at any position on defense with his 93.2 coverage grade as he intercepted three passes and broke up another five. He stuck his head in on 37 total tackles and missed just three while his eight defensive stops were a top-10 figure among safeties. His prowess in the secondary for the Commanders make him a legitimate candidate to potentially land a spot in the NFL this next season.”

-Pro Football Focus (on naming Smith the AAF Defender of the Year)

Derron was snatched up by the XFL later that year, after spending training camp with the Minnesota Vikings. He’d be the first defender taken off the board by his former GM Daryl Johnston, who was now working with the Dallas Renegades.

In 5 games with Dallas, Derron had 15 tackles, and an interception before the XFL 2020 folded due to COVID concerns.

I had a giant stack of cards of Derron I wanted to get signed and with his amazing game against the Hotshots and Legends, he zoomed near the top of my favorite Commanders defensive players. I got most of these autographs in person at an event at The Rim, before Week 7. Annoyingly the Topps AAF Now card arrived the next week in the mail so I had the stress of firing out this $10.00 card out into the wind and hoping it came back.

So you’re probably wondering, “How’d you track down Derron?” Easy. I cross referenced his bio to Twitter and found where he was at attached to his profile. From there I used Advanced Background Checks- and he popped right up.

Derron replied in about 10 days, signing both his XFL and AAF Now cards and wrote me a nice note, thanking me for being a fan. I was pumped.