Tag Archives: detroit lions

Thomas, Broderick ‘The Sandman’

Card: Action Packed Rookies 1990
Acquired: In Person, Dallas Cowboys Training Camp 1996

Playing outside linebacker for the Nebraska Cornhuskers during the late 80’s, Broderick Thomas garnered the nickname of “The Sandman” for his lights out sacking ability and received 2 time All America Honors. The Buccaneers took a shot at him, drafting him #5 in the monster 1989 draft. Based on his ability, statistics and attitude, this to me I thought was a sure fire pick, and the team quickly branded him as the ‘future’ in the NFL at linebacker. The bar was set up incredibly high and Broderick would have a hard time living up to those expectations starting no games his rookie season. He’d see continued improvement, with 7.5 sacks at LOLB in 1990 and a career high 11 sacks in 1991 at ROLB where he also contributed 174 tackles that season. (Playing in Tampa however he’d not see the ProBowl.) Thomas would also pull down 2 picks and a touchdown and 3 fumbles in 1992, but with his sack numbers on the downward slide, he’d see free agency after 1993 where he only started 8 games.

In 5 years with the Buccaneers, Thomas would finish with 26.5 sacks- which is probably about half of what was expected of him by the franchise. He’d continue the NFC Central tour, playing for both the Lions and Vikings respectively a season a piece and finish his career playing for the Dallas Cowboys in 1996 and 1997.  I’d get his autograph while he was with the Cowboys at training camp in 1996 where he alternated at linebacker and defensive end. In fairness to Thomas, his statistics while not amazing, were respectable enough to allow him to become a respectable linebacker. He’d retire in 1998, due to a freak injury when he ripped his ACL during training camp.

Tragically sacrificing himself for the sport, Thomas has suffered from a variety of arthritic related conditions, panic attacks, and depression- all from football- but has somehow managed to continue on. Nowadays, Broderick runs Broderick Sports Entertainment, fundraises for childhood diabetes and passionately follows everything Cornhusker related as an active alumni. Thomas is a prime example of why we must not forget our former gladiators and that life after football is not just a send off to retirement and riches without worry or pain.

G/Gs  144/96    Tac 643   Sac 47.5    Fum 15
Int  2    Yds 81     Td  1     Lg  56T

Jones, Eric

Card: Pro Set WLAF 1991
Acquired: In Person, San Antonio Riders v Birmingham Fire 1992.

After being touted by the Vanderbilt football program in 1988 as a Heisman Trophy candidate, Eric Jones was signed in 1989 the British Columbia Lions of the CFL.  June Jones and the Detroit Lions soon came a calling after a season ending injury to quarterback Rodney Peete where he was on the roster for the remainder of the season.

By 1991, Eric was picked up by the Birmingham Fire of the WLAF where he worked his way into the starting lineup after inconsistent play and injury took its tool on starting quarterback Brent Pease. Jones would also wear the helmet cam during the 1991 post season when the team faced the Dragons in the playoffs. In 1992 Eric was backup to Mike Norseth and played sparingly that season before the league disbanded. I’d get his autograph after the night game ended between the Riders and Fire. He was really gracious, and excited to sign my card.

Eric after football has worked his way into the medical field and is now involved with the Boston Scientific Corporation where he sells defibrillators and pacemakers. He resides in Macon, Ga with his wife and two children.

Games N/a   Att 87  Comp 41  Pct 47.1  Yds 495
Td 1   Int 9  Rat 29.3

Harbaugh, Jim ‘Captain Comeback’

Cards: Fleer 1990, GameDay 1992
Acquired:  TTM, C/o Stanford University, 2010.
Sent: 2/3   Received: 8/13  (210 days)

Jim Harbaugh was drafted from the University of Michigan in the first round of the 1987 draft by the Chicago Bears, – 5 years after taking incredibly popular Jim McMahon. The Bears had a long history up to this point of being a vaunted ground attack with Walter Peyton and later Neal Anderson. Over the team’s history, (as of 2009) the Bears had only 1 quarterback repeat as a 3,000 yard passer.

Harbaugh rode the bench for the Bears through 1989, when McMahon was traded to the San Diego Chargers.  Jim claimed the starting role but still had to look over his shoulder with Mike Tomczak backing him up.  Jim in 1991 threw for 3121 yards (2nd in team history). In 1994, Harbaugh was traded to the Colts, after finishing second on the career yardage list for the Chicago Bears.

Jim led an improbable Colts team back from the dead, into the playoffs and one game away from the Superbowl, knocking out the heavily favored Pittsburgh Steelers. During the 1995 season Harbaugh would have perhaps his finest moment leading the NFL in passer rating, being named AFC player of the year, NFL Comeback Player of the Year, and finished second in the NFL MVP race.  By 1997, the Colts fell back down to the Earth, and Harbaugh again would find himself traded, this time to the Baltimore Ravens.  He’d sign with the Chargers in 1999, but by 2000 he was splitting time with Ryan Leaf. Harbaugh then suited up briefly with the Lions and Panthers before retiring.

In retrospect over Jim’s playing career, he was a cannon armed quarterback who had to learn the minutia of the NFL game. He was a formidable rusher finishing with 2700 yards, a 5.0 average, and 18 touchdowns over his career. Jim was rough around the edges and was prone to force the ball, especially early in his career, but once surrounded with the right talent and placed in the right offense to hone his skills and check down targets properly, Harbaugh briefly became one of the most dangerous quarterbacks of his era.

Jim Harbaugh had been planning all along to go into coaching. From 1994-2001 while he was still in the NFL, Harbaugh was working as an offensive consultant and scout for Western Kentucky University. He then hopped over to the Raiders  for two seasons, and by 2004 was head coach of the University of San Diego.  In 2005 Harbaugh was named to the Indianapolis Colts Ring of Honor where he was dubbed ‘Captain Comeback’ by the Colts faithful during his playing days there. By 2007 he was head coach at Stanford University defeating rival USC in the what is considered to be the greatest upset in college football history (43 point favorite) and in 2009 hung a record 55 points on them, where the Cardinals were named to their first bowl game since 2001.  Jim also has pursued a variety of hobbies, including his foundations and a variety of children’s hospitals. He is also co-owner of Panther Racing in the Indianapolis Racing League. In 2011, he took over as head coach of the San Fransisco 49ers.

Jim Harbaugh gets the ironman award for the longest response, clicking in at 210 days. Nonetheless I was quite pleased to notch this former decorated Chicago Bear in my collection.

GS 140   Att  3918   Comp 2305  Pct 58.8
Yds 26288    Td  129     Int 117    Rat 77.6