CARDS: Topps XFL 2020 Green #83/99, Topps XFL 2020 Stars of the XFL ACQUIRED: TTM 2020, C/o Home SENT: 6/29/20 RECEIVED: 1/25/21 (210 days)
After going undrafted in 2015, was signed by the Houston Texans as a free agent.
Had a solid preseason, but with a logger jam at TE, the Texans traded Khari to Chicago.
Cut by the Bears in 2016, joined the Lions for 2016/17.
Claimed by the Bills in 2017, but later waived in 2018.
Selected in the 5th round of the 2019 XFL Draft by the DC Defenders.
After league ended season prematurely due to COVID, Khari signed with the Falcons in 2020.
Given an injury settlement, and joined Lions briefly for second stint.
When Khari was drafted by the DC Defenders I knew he’d be a solid fit for the team. I thought he was going to be a good fit with the Texans, especially based on what I saw. I ended up nabbing him with one of the final picks of my XFL Fantasy Draft, and he helped my team go undefeated in 2020 catching 8 passes, with 2 of them going for 2 TDs.
He kindly signed these cards for me- but did so, much to my chagrin, on the back. Khari also sent me back an extra autographed base card, that I sent off to my friend Mark, who had received cards back from Khari, but they were unsigned.
Card: Topps AAF NOW 2019 Acquired: TTM 2020, C/o Home Sent: 6/30 Received: 12/10 (163 days) See Also: AJ Tarpley
I really liked the San Diego Fleet. They had a lot of great players on the team, but among them AJ Tarpley was probably my favorite. He had already signed his card previously for me, but this AAF card of his was quite expensive at the time, so I bided my time until I could get it at a great price, and then take a shot at getting him to sign this card of his. A bittersweet card- it frames the moment when AJ dashed the Commanders perfect season hopes, as the Fleet went out on top 12-8 and never looked back.
During the dog days of COVID I was working from home and decided to pick up a jersey or two of my favorite AAF players. Since the Fleet for some reason didn’t have any specific player jerseys, I picked up one of AJ. It looks great, and I can not believe how accurate the Chinese retailer got this jersey to look like the real thing!
After the AAF folded, AJ did not have to wait long for his name to be called as he was selected by the Washington Defenders of the XFL for their 2020 season during the open portion of the league’s draft. He played in 3 games (starting 2) for DC, logging 16 total tackles.
AJ left me sweating bullets about this card, but after seeing my jersey online I got of him- it jogged his memory and he shot it back to me with a nice note thanking me for being a fan. I am eager to hopefully see him suit up again in the XFL in 2022.
A versatile and consistent linebacker, AJ Tarpley played for the Stanford Cardinal from 2011-2014. Over his 4 years he totaled out 299 total tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, 4 interceptions, 8 pass deflections and 2 fumble recoveries.
He was not selected in the 2015 NFL Draft, however AJ was snatched up by the Buffalo Bills. After bouncing off and back onto the roster as a practice squad member, he was elevated late in the season to the regular season roster. AJ turned out to be a stellar find by the franchise, and saw action in the final month of the season, starting 2 games, recording 8 tackles, a forced fumble, and 2 interceptions.
“I have no current residual effects that I am aware of, cognitively or physically. The decision I made to retire from football is about coming to terms with the totality of my concussion history and what is asked of me as a linebacker.”
-AJ Tarpley at his retirement in 2016
In early 2016, citing concussion concerns, AJ retired, stunning the football world. AJ had suffered 3-4 concussions the previous season, and doctors were advising him to be careful. He briefly entered the financial world working on wall street, but he kept hearing the siren’s call of football.
AJ decided to return to football in 2019, signing with the San Diego Fleet of the AAF. AJ started 6 games for the Fleet, posting 35 total tackles and an interception he returned 27 yards for a touchdown in San Diego’s route of the San Antonio Commanders 31-11, in Week 3. For his efforts in that game, AJ was named AAF Defensive Player of the Week and enshrined with his Topps AAF Now card (that routinely is overpriced at $50,00 on EBay). After the league folded Tarpley was mentioned by Coach Mike Martz as being the ‘most NFL ready’ of his players.
“He’s the centerpiece of our defense. I don’t know why he is not in the NFL.”
– Fleet Head Coach Mike Martz
It was hard not to like the Fleet in general. A team full of characters, I really took to Ja’Quan Gardner, Dontez Ford, and Berco on offense, but the defense- in particular- there was Ron Brooks and AJ Tarpley. I had identified Tarpley as the motor of the Fleet defense in the preseason and really liked his background. I am glad that he was able to resurrect his career (even at the expense of the Commanders).
When I pulled this card, I knew I had to have it signed. MSB (Mark’s Signing Bonus) came through and helped me out again on the address. I was hoping to get his Topps Now entry on the cheap, but I could not get the price down so after a slight delay I go this out the door to him.
AJ was selected by the DC Defenders of the new XFL 2020 intiative during the open phase portion of the league’s initial draft.
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.