Tag Archives: Dallas Cowboys

Johnson, Undra

Card: ProSet WLAF 1991
Acquired: TTM 2010, C/o Work.
Sent: 5/10  Received: 5/17  (7 days)

Undra Johnson played college ball for the West Virginia Mountaineers where he led them in rushing as a senior to the Fiesta Bowl in 1989. Johnson then earned a 7th round choice out of the strong 1989 draft pool. Selected by the Falcons, he played for the Saints and Cowboys also that season. He’d then be drafted by the Riders with their #1 choice of the WLAF positional draft for runningbacks. Undra was a shifty halfback, and worked well in tandem with the power of Ricky Blake, eventually finishing the season with 258 yards and 2 touchdowns in 1991. He was also the team leader in kickoff returns. Undra had already started selling real estate and dabbling in finance and left the league behind for it full time in 1992. He currently is a securities advisor in Bridgeport, WV.

The first season of the WLAF in San Antonio had the Riders playing in dilapidated Alamo Stadium, (home of the Gunslingers of the USFL who even thought it was old,) where they went 4-6. It took them a bit of time to discover their defensive rhythm, and establish consistency under center, but once this had been done, season 2 was a vast improvement as Undra would finish behind teammate Ricky Blake in rushing that season. I sent out for his autograph after discovering his address with the help once again of Wikipedia and a small bit of detective work. He responded quite quickly signing this card that I had enclosed.

Games 10    Att  76    Yds 258     Avg 3.4   Lg 17    Td 2
Rec 10    Yds 55       Avg  5.5    Lg 12   Td 0
Ret 14     Yds 305     Avg 21.8   Lg  36   Td 0

Shepard, Derrick (1964-1999)

Cards: Fleer 1990
Acquired: In person, Dallas Cowboys training camp 1990.

I got Derrick on day two or three at my first Cowboys training camp. He was more than happy to stop and sign any cards that fans had and was genuinely a nice guy even though the players were engaged in blisteringly hot two a days.

Derrick was basically trying to live the dream and find a home in the NFL after not being drafted into the league. He was signed as a free agent by the Redskins, and made an impression as a backup kick returner/ punt returner winning a Superbowl in 1987. A speedster, Shepard was signed via free agency by the Saints in 1989 and played 4 games before hitting waivers again, where the Cowboys signed him immediately to fill a utility role. Derrick got valuable playing experience at WR  and in special teams, starting 8 games, making 18 catches, and scoring the only receiving touchdown of his career.  In both 1989 and 1990 he’d lead the team in punt returns, but his role would be shifted to back up in 1991.

Transitioning out of his life as a player, Shepard began a coaching career at the high school level and then later returned to the University of Oklahoma, (his alma mater) before becoming the wide receivers coach at Wyoming in early in 1999. A few weeks later while playing racquetball Derrick suffered a fatal heart attack and died. He was only 35. Derrick Shepard is survived by his wife and three children.

G 36   Rec  20   Yds  304    Avg  15.2    TD 1   Lg 37
KR 51  Yds  1007   Avg 19.7    TD 0     LG 44
PR  75    Yds 679     Avg  9.1     TD 1      Lg  73

Novacek, Jay

Cards: Proset 1989, Proset 1991 Receiving Leader TE.
Acquired: In Person, Dallas Cowboys Training Camp 1990, 1992.

Jay Novacek was one of Jimmy Johnson‘s first free agent signees of the 1990 season and one of the first autographs I got at Dallas Cowboys training camp at St. Edwards in Austin, Tx. Novacek played in near anonymity for the St. Louis/ Phoenix Cardinals but was left unprotected in free agency. Jay took over the starting tight end position providing an immediate upgrade and held down the starting position for 6 seasons and received 5  Pro Bowl nods from 1991 to 1995. Novacek played in Super Bowl XXX (1996), but never played another down and retired in 1997 due to a lingering back injury.

After football Novacek has dabbled in a variety fields since retirements, investing in a chain of haircut salons (Sportsclips), youth football programs, and is an avid outdoorsman and hunter. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008.

G 158         Rec  422        Yds  4630        Avg  11.0        Td  30       Lg  49