Card: Topps AAF 2019 Acquired: IP 2019, San Antonio Commanders v The Arizona Hotshots
Lost in the JUCO shuffle to SMU, cornerback Sterling Moore went undrafted in the 2011 NFL Draft.
He’d sign with the Oakland Raiders, and then end up on the roster of the Patriots that year. Called up to active play from the practice squad, Sterling helped New England in a pinch make the Super Bowl that year. Sterling returned to the practice squad in 2012, but was snapped up by the Dallas Cowboys. Sterling again saw some emergency time over the next year or so before earning a role as the team’s nickelback. In 2015, Moore signed with the Bucs, and saw a mix of playing time starting at corner and also as the nickelback, starting 8 contests. After a quick pitstop with the Bills, Sterling spent the next year and a half with the New Orleans Saints. He’d start a career high 12 games, recording 2 picks, 56 total tackles, and 13 pass deflections in 2016. Sterling signed with the Detroit Lions in 2018, but did not make the squad.
Moore joined the Arizona Hotshots of the Alliance in early 2019. He’d record 7 pass deflections, 1 forced fumble and 23 total tackles in 8 starts.
Sterling came over during warmups when he realized I had a card and signed this one for me. After the Commanders game ended, I gave him one to keep which he really appreciated.
That’d be the last game in AAF history, but Sterling was later selected in the 2019 XFL draft by the Seattle Dragons during the defensive back portion, with their final overall pick.
The Outland Trophy Winner in 1987, Chad Hennings was an excellent defensive lineman who had to defer playing in the NFL to serve his time in the military and fought in the Gulf War. Thanks in part to his service, his stock dipped severely in the 1988 NFL Draft. He’d be selected in the 11th round by the Dallas Cowboys. It wasn’t until 1992 that Chad would become available to the Cowboys to play, thanks in part to military staff reductions.
He’d play with a burgeoning Cowboys defense initially seeing time on special teams. Rotating into the lineup Chad saw a career high 7 sacks in 1994. He started his first game in 1995, and played with the Cowboys through 2000 when injuries began to catch up with him.
All in all Chad was a pretty sneaky draft pick by the Cowboys. They signed him to a contract and paid him a minimal amount to keep his rights until they could pry him from his commitments and it really paid off. They got 6 solid years out of him and 72 starts.
I know why Chad looks a bit exasperated in this 1992 Upper Deck card here. It’s because it was probably taken at Cowboys Training Camp at St. Edwards. As a frequent denizen early on in those years- if the heat didn’t get you, the humidity was surely close behind. I do not like the card one bit. His hands are completely off the canvas and there’s no action to this shot whatsoever. I didn’t mind the stone look to the production, but it felt like it cheapened the look and value of their initial foray with their 1991 effort as they look so similar.
His GameDay 1992 card is solid outside of his foot looking mangled since they didn’t want to include the grass or fake it. It’s an exciting action shot of him taking off and overall it is framed quite well. I had wanted to get Chad on these cards way back at training camp over the years, but by the time I got these cards, things were already going big and neon at Cowboys Training Camp at St. Edwards. It was a madhouse to get autographs, and autograph alley had become somewhat of a chest pressing spectacle for both observers and players alike. – So understandably the best route was TTM some 20 years later.
Chad actually haunts me. He was in a Sports Illustrated article where he talked about the dream of coming back to football… How he could smell the grass, his coaches still barking at him to get in the game, making a play. I still have those dreams, and wish I could go back and change things.
Card: Sage 2017 Acquired: 2017, Box Breaker. 2019, San Antonio Commanders v San Diego Fleet
A classic road mauler, Damien Mama played guard at USC and clocked in at a whopping 6’3″, 342. A second team PAC 12 selection in 2016, he’d declare early for the 2017 NFL draft, but go unselected. He’d sign as a free agent with the Chiefs and eventually land on their practice squad. Later in 2017, the Giants signed him to their roster- but Damien was released in mid-2018. He’d join the Cowboys in training camp, but again be waived in final cuts.
I found out that Damien was playing in The Alliance of American Football for the San Diego Fleet, so I packed a card of him for the first game of the season. He was practicing with Marc Bercovici before the game and decided to come over and sign some autographs in the visitor’s end zone. A super nice guy, Damien’s sleeve tattoos are even more amazing up close.
Mama was shifted from guard to center for the Fleet for the opening day game against the Commanders. Despite his best efforts the Fleet were overwhelmed by San Antonio and surrendered 6 sacks.
Throughout the season Mama’s play improved and the team finished in 4th place giving up just 19 sacks in 8 games. The Fleet themselves as an offensive unit finished 3rd in the league in total yardage and second in passing yardage.
Currently with the dissolution of the league, Damien is a free agent but could find a home in the XFL 2020.
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.