Lonnie Turner took a very unique route to the WLAF after playing for Cal Poly Pomona under Roman Gabriel: He played in the USFL from 1983 to 1985. During that period he played one season each for LA (3 catches for 41 yards), Oklahoma (27 receptions for 399 yards and 2 TDs), and Denver (29 receptions for 388 yards). After brief stops with the Cardinals and later the Atlanta Falcons, he’d join the Arena football league, and play for Pittsburgh in 1988. Boasting experience in the Run N Shoot offense, Lonnie signed with the Lions in 1990, but was unable to make the squad. This however got him back onto the radar of the WLAF, and the New York- New Jersey Knights who were coached by former Lions offensive coordinator Mouse Davis.
Lonnie was selected in the WLAF supplemental draft by the Knights. A long in the tooth veteran at 30 years old, Lonnie was one of the oldest players on the team. He paid dividends in 1991, leading NY-NJ with 41 receptions (5th in league) for 629 yards (7th) and caught his only touchdown of the season versus the Montreal Machine. In 1992, Lonnie caught 36 passes for 437 yards and 2 TDs- including a 50 yarder.
With the WLAF reorganizing after the 1992 season, Turner packed his bags for a quick stop with the British Columbia Lions of the CFL in 1993. He posted 27 receptions for 420 yards and 2 TDs, 11 kick returns for 196 yards, and 38 punts for 270 yards. – As a pro, this represented his most productive season- but this was his first and last foray into the CFL.
A few years passed, and Lonnie appears again in the Arena Football League. This time he picks up in 1996 with the Tampa Bay Storm, and along with that 43 receptions for 576 yards and 9 TDs. He’d join the Nashville Kats in 1997 and play there through 1998. With the Kats in 1997 he’d have another solid season (35 receptions, 485 yards, 9 TDs, 28 kick returns, 460 yards, and 1 TD), and then close out his career playing football with one final season in Nashville with 20 receptions for 193 yards and 3 TDs, and 16 kick returns for 251 yards.
I have been tracking Lonnie for some time. With his unique and interesting playing history, I figured that he’d at least be on Wikipedia, but his trail is mysteriously cold. Even USFL fans couldn’t tell me where he was at. It didn’t help that there are actually other Lonnie Turners out there in the world who played and coached football, but after a lot of perseverance, I was able to find him coaching in Los Angeles. He’s apparently spent a lot of time at the high school level and has now climbed into the college ranks.
The Goose, as Gagliano is affectionately known by the Detroit Lions, earned his nickname during the team’s late season surge in 1989 under head coach Wayne Fontes. The Lions were bad – very bad, and the 1989 season started out like any other with 1 win in 9 games, but things changed in week 10. The team rallied and won 6 of their next 7 contests. Gagliano was a big part of that going 4-3 as a starter, replacing the oft injured Rodney Peete. Sure his numbers were not all that sexy, throwing twice as much interceptions as touchdowns in the Silver Stretch Offense of the Run ‘N Shoot. When Gagliano was on though, the Lions won in exciting fashion, but when he wasn’t Bob failed to post above a 60 QB rating.
In 1990, Bob continued to battle Peete at quarterback for the starting job, frequently coming in as a change of pace. He’d start 9 games that season and throw for a career high 10 touchdowns. Gagliano was allowed to sign via free agency with the Chargers in 1991, starting game in 1992. For the next three seasons Bob served as an insurance policy for the Falcons (1993), 49ers (1994) and Packers (1995).
Before the Goose’s time in Detroit, he was originally a 12th round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs in 1982. After getting no traction on the roster through 2 seasons, He then played for the rival USFL Denver Gold in 1984 and 1985. Gagliano returned to the NFL in 1986. He was signed by the San Fransisco 49ers and started one game as a scab player. In 1988 he also spent time on the rosters of the Houston Oilers and Indianapolis Colts.
Bob Gagliano is a great piece of NFL trivia. He is one of only three starting quarterbacks to play for the San Fransisco 49ers during the 1980s- alongside Joe Montana and Steve Young. That’s some great company to be in!
G/Gs 32/13 Att 486 Comp 289 Yds 3431 Pct 51.2 Td 17 Int 27 Rat 62.7 |
Rush 93 Yds 352 Avg 3.8 Td 4 lg 22
Card: ProSet 1991, ProSet WLAF 1991, ProSet WLAF 1991 Helmet card
Acquired: TTM 1992, C/o The New York-New Jersey Knights, TTM 2011, C/o The University of Hawaii Warriors
Sent: 2/14/11 Received: 3/10/11 (24 days)
Mouse Davis is nothing short of an innovator and a career coach with an extensive offensive coaching tree full of acolytes at every stop. Considered of great importance to the evolution of the Run and Shoot offense(- a passing offense that employs four wide receiver sets, no tight ends and a single running back,) the offense itself is also treated as the forerunner to the modern day spread offense. At every stop from the high school level to the professional level, Davis’ offenses have lit up the scoreboard and set team and league records. In college Mouse coached tiny Portland State to explosive levels (guided by future NFL quarterback Neil Lomax and June Jones). Portland State would set 20 NCAA records, and Mouse would briefly make a stop at Berkley before going on to be offensive coordinator of the Toronto Argonauts in the CFL in 1982. In 1984 he’d move to the USFL and be offensive coordinator under coach Jack Pardee and the Houston Gamblers with Jim Kelly, Richard Johnson and Ricky Sanders. His ‘Mouseketeers’ would dominate the offensive scoreboard and Johnson and Sanders would be the first 100 reception tandem in football history on the same team. 1985 would see his first pro head coaching gig, guiding the Denver Gold to the playoffs before the league folded. Soon thereafter Davis was named head coach of the St. Louis Lightning of the WIFL, but the league disbanded before it even took the field. After the failure of the USFL and WIFL, Davis was head coach of the New York-New Jersey Knights of the WLAF where the team in its first season had the league’s leading rusher in Eric Wilkerson and made the playoffs. In one notable game in 1991 the team set a football record for most faked punts in a game, but also set the record for futility in special teams as well. In the 1992 season under Davis’ guidance, quarterback Reggie Slack was the number 2 rated passer in the league with a 6-4 record before it folded.
Mouse has made numerous pitstops in the NFL as well, most notably when he was an assistant with the Detroit Lions during the late 80s – early 90’s building the “Silver Stretch Offense” and also spent time with the Atlanta Falcons. He was influential with Jack Pardee who adopted the Run and Shoot from him utilizing it with both the Houston Cougars to epic proportions in the NCAA level, the Houston Oilers in the NFL, and the Birmingham Barracudas in the CFL.
Davis returned to the college ranks after his stints in the NFL and WLAF. He currently serves with the Hawaii Warriors as their wide recievers coach and was inducted into the Portland State HoF. I sent off for his autograph while he was coaching the Knights in 1992 and then just this year while he was with the Warriors and he responded in under 30 days. His WLAF statistics are below.
W 11 L 9 T 0 Pct .555
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.