Cards: Panini Contenders 2016, Leaf Draft 2016, Panini Prism 2016 Acquired: IP 2019, SA Commanders Team Signing Dick’s Sporting Goods at The Rim
The Commanders big signing event of the season came at Dick’s Sporting Goods and with big names from the team appearing, it made total sense for me to go. Even though the event said NO OUTSIDE ITEMS, I figured I would take my chances and show up with my cards. It turned out nobody cared and I was able to go through the line 2 times to get all my cards covered. Mekale was next to Derron Smith, and they argued over which had the better cards. Mekale was sold on his Prism card, but he got trumped by Derron who had a Prism die cut card that looked like a fence. Overall it was a great event and I was happy with getting all the players’ autographs that were in attendance, as about two weeks later the league would disappear. Mekale’s autograph is very unique. I have never seen an M shaped quite like that.
Mekale was not drafted coming out of Arkansas (2012)/ Cincinnati (2013-2015), where he posted 108 receptions for 2034 yards and 19 TDs over his time between the two schools. A huge target stepping in at 6-5, McKay averaged an improbable 30.3 yards per reception in 2013 when he hauled in 16 catches for 485 yards and 7 TDs. He’d sign with the Colts after the draft in 2016, but be cut after training camp. Mekale then bounced around between the Jaguars, Broncos, Titans, Bears, and Cowboys over the next two years.
In 2019 McKay signed with the San Antonio Commanders of the now defunct Alliance of American Football. He’d post 22 receptions for 375 yards and 4 TDs including 1 2 point conversion. Mekale’s 17 yards a reception also was among the league leaders in that category. After the league ‘suspended operations’, Mekale drew interest from the Buffalo Bills and attended minicamp with the Browns.
Mekale was then selected by the New York Guardians of the XFL 2020, during the second round of the initial phase of the player draft. Over the course of the season he caught 12 passes for 184 yards and a TD, before the COVID pandemic cancelled the season. Two months later, McKay signed with the Blue Bombers of the CFL, but roughly a month later the league suspended play due to COVID as well.
Trey Williams hails from Texas A&M- a school full of rich history in producing runningbacks. While playing for the Aggies, he ran 204 time for 1343 yards and 18 TDs in 3 years (2012-2014). What was most impressive was his gaudy 6.6 yards per carry. He also caught 38 passes for 330 yards and a TD as well. Although he had a solid combine, Williams ultimately was not selected in the 2015 draft.
He’d sign with his hometown Houston Texans after the draft, then quickly join the Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys, the Patriots, the Dolphins, and finally the Colts- all before 2015 came to a close. After being cut by the Colts in mid-2016, Trey kept hustling. He signed with the Steelers early in 2017, then briefly joined the Argos in the CFL. In November of 2017, Williams signed with the Dallas Cowboys again where he’d be waived in final cuts during 2018.
I can’t imagine how frustrating it would be to have highlight film that made preseason sportscenter.. such as scoring a TD on his first ever preseason carry from 20+ yards out, or returning a punt for a 64 yard TD with the Steelers- but somehow miss out on making the squad.
Trey opted to head to the new frontier of the Alliance of American Football in 2019. He’d be assigned to the San Antonio Commanders. After missing the first two weeks of the season for personal reasons, Trey played in the next 6 finishing with 40 carries for 205 yards and a TD. He’d also catch 9 passes for 71 yards and a TD as well.
An exciting sparkplug, Williams provided a change of pace to lead back Kenneth Farrow II in the Commanders backfield. An outside the tackles kind of guy, Williams is very good at dodging people in space. This makes him quite effective at screen passes and out in the flat. He quickly became my favorite player just behind Greg Ward Jr.
His finest moment in the AAF came in Week 7 against the formidable Salt Lake City Stallions. The Stallions had a very stubborn defense. After trading field position for most of the game and keeping it close, QB Marquise Williams dropped a screen pass out to Trey. He bobbed and weaved through the SLC defense 36 yards and then dove into the endzone for a TD. It was really incredible to watch!
After the AAF folded, Trey joined the XFL 2020, where he was the first player selected in the open portion of the draft by the Seattle Dragons. He’d be reunited with his coach from the Commanders, Mike Riley, and a bevvy of former teammates including Kenneth Farrow. He ran 34 times for 122 yards and a TD for the Dragons, and catch 8 passes for 44 yards and a TD- before the league folded after week 5.
I first missed out on an in person signing in Houston during 2019. I would’ve driven there just to get his autograph on a bunch of cards and meet him, but I had been to in person events frequently that year, and I did not wish to antagonize my wife. I also had the Topps AAF Now card I was worried about risking, so these just sat, and then I added a few more to the stack including the XFL card.
After a while I just decided to buy a few certified cards of Trey, thinking I’d call it a day, but a few months later my partner in crime, Mark, acted on an address I had long suspected of being Trey’s- and hit pay dirt. It took me a bit to get back to Trey. I miss the Commanders and the AAF a lot, but frankly, we all know it wouldn’t have made it probably through 2020 – because of the pandemic. (See the XFL 2020.) Still after being stuck in the mud the last few months on AAF/XFL send outs, I went back to it taking the risk that Trey would ink these cards. I would have preferred a different color than silver- but I can’t look this gift horse in the mouth.
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.