Tag Archives: Dallas Cowboys

Rush, Cooper

Cards: Sage 2017  (#184/250), Sage 2017 Peak Performance
Acquired:  2017, Hobby Box Breaker

Cooper Rush played college football for Central Michigan. There for the Chippewas, Cooper passed for3,848 yards, 25 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, on an impressive 66.3 completion percentage in 2015, earning him second team All-MAC. His numbers slipped in 2016 to 3,540 passing yards, 23 touchdowns and 16 interceptions, and a 59.8 completion percentage. Still it was a good enough effort on Cooper’s part to earn 3rd team All-MAC.  Starting all but 3 games over his time at CMU, Cooper just finished 12 yards shy of Dan LeFevour’s school career passing record.

An intelligent quarterback with a quick read, timing, and accuracy, Cooper was a team captain during his Junior and Senior seasons. The big knock on Cooper is that he is just not a well-defined athlete. He completely failed the meat market eye test, and his arm strength was questionable at best.  Cooper was not selected in the 2017 NFL draft.

With the ‘retirement’ of Tony Romo, the Dallas Cowboys were looking for a quarterback late in the 2017 NFL draft to develop. Unable to find a project they liked, management elected to make Cooper a priority free agent signing. It makes sense as pre-draft, Cooper was compared to Cowboys second string quarterback Kellen Moore. In the meantime, the Cowboys can groom Cooper as a camp arm or practice squad guy until they get him up to the speed of the pro game.

Patterson, Melvin

Cards: Ultimate WLAF 1992, Wild Card WLAF 1992
Acquired: TTM 2017, C/o Home
Sent:  5/11           Received:  5/22   (11 days)

Melvin Patterson was quite the find. Since his time in the WLAF he’s tread a very unique life.  After a lot of cross referencing his football card to a variety of other sources I found an old post on the web imploring users of the designer drug Kratom to contact Patterson at the DEA. After a few months of soul searching, I decided to reach out to Melvin. It had taken me sometime because I was intimidated to be calling the D-E-A. Furthermore, what would his reaction be? Finally, for me it breaks a long standing rule and tradition of TTM requests to never contact the player directly. Mail is direct enough, but by phone- that is a higher level of communication and it could be construed as something alarming. Nonetheless, I went ahead nervously and gave it a shot.

Initially it was a rough call. I could read easily that Patterson’s tone was skeptical, but after stumbling through formalities and explaining the purpose of my call, my link to him through the WLAF, and how it had positively impacted my life, he opened up to me and we had a long and interesting conversation about the league. It was really enlightening for me, as most of my discussions with former players usually is through snail mail, and I could get knee jerk, honest answers immediately about Melvin’s time playing for the league from him. I also was able to reassure him of my purpose by being able to discuss these things at length with him, especially the infamous ‘Hail Storm Game’ that occurred between Ohio and San Antonio.  He shared with me that the game held significant importance for him as both his mother (who frowned upon him playing football because she was afraid he’d get hurt) and his future wife were in attendance at the game.

Melvin also shared with me the background behind his 99 yard TD grab against the Knights- the longest in league history.  Apparently they had tried the same play on the previous down, and it hadn’t worked. While in the huddle, Melvin was chirping in QB Pat O’Hara‘s ear about how open he had been for most of the game.  They decided to attempt the same play again, but flip it. O’Hara went back to pass and Melvin found the seam between the corner and the safety and before he knew it, the ball was in his hands. He split the defensive backs and stepped on the gas to take the ball to pay dirt.  Patterson also reminded me of the SFA connection and that many players including Patrick Action Jackson and Todd Hammel had made their ways through the WLAF. He was very curious in how his teammates and college players had been doing.  Melvin said he’d even put in a good word for me if I could track down Todd.   Like many players, he agreed that the NFL gave up on the WLAF (and its other incarnations) too soon, as we rattled off the lineage of players that went on to greater glory or have become coaches in their own right, thanks in part to time honing their skills in the league. In addition he told me he had been assigned to the Austin field office for a few years during his tenure at the DEA, and this was quite a charge to me, just reinforcing what a small world it is.

In 1987, Melvin led SFA with 31 receptions for 472 yards and 2 TDs. Melvin signed with the Dallas Cowboys as a Free Agent in 1988 and the Atlanta Falcons in 1989.

He joined the WLAF in 1991 as a 5th round pick of the Birmingham Fire.  Based on archival information, it appears that Melvin was a member of the Raleigh-Durham Skyhawks at the end of 1991, finishing with 4 catches for 126 yards and a 72 yard long.  Patterson was signed by the Eagles and allocated back to the WLAF for 1992. He was selected by the Ohio Glory in the supplemental player draft.

To say that the Glory suffered an identity crisis on offense is an understatement. Not only was there problems at quarterback, the coaches argued over the philosophical offensive strength of the team. Still, Melvin managed to haul in 21 receptions for 395 yards and 2 TDs as a long bomb threat.  I’m sure that his mom shuddered every time the defense forced a punt,  as Melvin was the team’s primary returner with 25 returns for 173 yards.

These are some great cards of Melvin.  The photography for the Ultimate set was uneven, but with this action shot of Melvin was pretty solid. Even though he doesn’t have the ball, the photo is at the right distance and the framing is just right to make this shot stand out from the ordinary. The second image from the Wild Card set is a nice one. You can feel the ball hitting Patterson in the bread basket. I wasn’t the biggest fan of their design however.  I thought the stamp logo and the bright numbers down the side really took away from the main composition of the card.

Melvin has pretty much been a career man in DEA since football and is nearing retirement.  He wrote me a really nice note with the autographs he sent back to me and said that he gets requests every once in a while from fans for autographs.  Of note, Melvin’s gaudy receiving average of 20.8 ranks 4th in league history.

WLAF    REC  25    YDS  521    AVG  20.8     TD  2      LG 99T
PR  25      YDS 173     AVG  6.9       TD 0

Randle, Joseph ‘Joe’

Card: Score 2013 Hot Rookies (11/25)
Acquired: 2016, EBay

Joseph Randle is a painful tale.  After an impressive college career at Oklahoma State from 2010-2012, in which he rushed for 3085 yards and 40 TDs, Randle decided to turn pro.  He was selected in the 5th round by the Dallas Cowboys in the 2013 NFL Draft.

He earned the backup spot behind DeMarco Murray his rookie year, starting 2 games (when Murray was injured), and scored his first professional TD in a 31-16 romp of the Washington Redskins in week 6.  Even though he started no games in 2014 Joseph saw his workload increase, and he saw a career high 345 rushing yards, including a 65 yard blistering scamper.  The timing couldn’t have been better, as Murray would bolt via free agency.

Randle would be named defacto starter in his absence for the 2015 season.  Fans clamored that Randle was a sleeper in upcoming fantasy football drafts, but cracks had already started appearing in Joseph’s football foundation, as he started running into legal trouble in October of 2014.

He’d be arrested for simple theft, which caused him to be the butt of late night jokes for a few weeks, because it was over cologne and underwear. 4 months later in February of 2015, he’d be arrested again, this time for marijuana possession- but the charges were later dropped.  It was a pivotal fall from grace from the heir apparent to the Cowboys rushing mantle. During the bye week of the season the Cowboys installed Darren McFadden as starter, and tried to get Randle psychiatric help.  He’d be cut shortly thereafter, and then received a 4 game suspension from the NFL.  Joseph was lost.

Things didn’t end there as far as Joseph’s legal issues are concerned.
He’d be arrested in November of 2015 for assault of security guards at a local casino.  He’d keep in NFL shape, but no teams were calling. Joseph continued to seek counselling in the meantime.  Then in February of 2016 he’d be arrested for an outstanding warrant for speeding.  At the time of his arrest, he’d sadly state, “This is the end of my career.”

Joseph later claimed that teams were interested in working him out, but Joe- whether it was from drugs, alcohol, or maybe even a lingering concussion, continued to spiral out of control.  He’d be again arrested later that month for an assortment of charges, including battery and possession of drugs- most of which would later be dropped.  His bond would be pulled after he failed to appear in court.  In February of 2017 he’d be arrested again on disorderly conduct and battery while in a Kansas jail.  He’s been held in solitary for a great deal of his confinement, and as of early 2017 still awaits trial on many charges stemming from his recent behavior.

Joe is a terribly tragic case. It’s not really certain if it is concussion related, mental illness related, or drug and alcohol related- but one thing is for sure: A young man’s life has fallen through the cracks of a system that should have helped him.