Card: ProSet World League 1991 Acquired: 2020, EBay Failure: TTM 2010 and 2016, C/o Home
Tracy Simien played during the late Jurassic era of the SWC for the Texas Christian Horned Frogs from 1985-1988. During that period he switched positions 4 times, from center and guard as a freshman, and then as a nose tackle during his sophomore campaign, finally landing at defensive end during his junior season. Over his time at TCU, Tracy compiled 193 tackles, 24 tackles for loss, and 12 sacks. Reputed to bench at the time over 400 pounds, Tracy slipped through the cracks of the 1989 NFL Draft, but found a home on the developmental roster of the Steelers that season, seeing some action in the divisional playoff game against the Broncos. In 1990 he joined the Chiefs developmental squad- where he was then became one of the first ‘big name’ NFL Enhancement Players to sign with the World League for the 1991 season.
Tracy made quite a splash for the Montreal Machine at linebacker that year. During the league’s debut weekend, he’d wear USA Network’s Helmet Cam making quite a splash during the team’s win over the Birmingham Fire 20-5. His bone crushing hits and plays were amazing to watch, and he finished with 4 tackles and a sack in the exciting contest. After the dust settled from that year, Simien had 33 tackles, 5 sacks, and a fumble recovery- good for first team All-World Honors in 1991.
Simien became one of the league’s early poster children for success, as he parlayed his experience and seasoning into a starting role with the Chiefs in 1991 at LILB. In 1992 he’d lead KC in tackles with 97, and lead the linebacker corps with 3 interceptions at MLB. He’d follow up his solid ’92 campaign with a career high 105 tackles in 1993 back at LILB. Over the next following 3 seasons Tracy finished with over 70 tackles playing again back at MLB. After the 1998 season, he signed with the San Diego Chargers- retiring after the season.
I was frustrated with my lack of success with Tracy so when I saw this reasonably priced autograph on Ebay, that matched previous ones of his, I went ahead and pulled the trigger, confident I had acquired the real deal.
Tracy has dabbled in coaching, imparting his knowledge that he learned in the NFLE with the Cologne Centurions from 2005 and 2007, and the Houston Texans in 2006.
Cards: Topps Valor 2015, Sage 2015 Artistry, Sage 2015, Sage 2015 Next Level, Panini Prestige 2015, Panini Prestige Blue Chips 2015, Topps Air 2015, Panini Contenders 2016, Topps 2015, Leaf Draft 2015 Acquired: IP 2019, XFL Roughnecks Meet and Greet. Box Breaker 2020
Wow. What a haul. After seeing Sammie was drafted by the XFL Roughnecks I quickly pulled out as many cards of him as I could in anticipation of some sort of event or draft party and just bode my time. A few events passed by, and knowing I had a chit to burn to Houston for an event or two, I thought I’d wait it out and see. Lo and behold a triple billing of Head Coach June Jones, QB Connor Cook and Sammie popped up- so I made my move and went to the event.
I took a half day and drove down to North Houston. I’d never been to The Woodlands. It’s name is pretty apt as the bar they were at was in the middle of a shopping strip in a forest. I was one of the first people there, and immediately bumped heads with a fan who did not want to hang out with any other fans- little less one from Austin. He was quick to flip on me, constantly bagging on Austin, or saying, “There’s too many liberals in Austin,” – And not in a joking way. I tried to not let it spoil my enthusiasm for the team, but it was frustrating having that as my first experience. Part of the point of the league is no political drama, and here’s a guy making political theater out of it.
Anyway, Sammie, Connor, and June strolled in the door. I waited them out until after they’d eaten. Sammie was destroying some hot wings when I came up. He saw my cards and his eyes lit up, and after washing his hands and coming back signed every one of them. He liked the Sage 2015 cards so much, I gave him my extras I had for his PC. I asked him what position of WR that June Jones would have him at, but he said that it hadn’t been hammered out. We discussed his brief stay in Houston, where he called, Bill O’Brien, “Quite unique,” but notably had nothing bad to say about the ball coach. It was an easy pickup. Sammie signed 11 cards for me total- with an extra going to my friend Jeff, who was unable to go.
There is a thick stack of great cards that Sammie had for me to choose from. Thankfully he signed all of them. I really enjoyed the design on nearly all of them, with the Valor is the easy kill. The Sage Artistry was dreamy to me. I felt like there was a bit extra attention paid to creating this image, but the Panini Blue Chip was a well designed canvas, along with the Contenders which was a pleasant surprise.
Sammie Coates attended Auburn, where with his crisp routes, hands and speed, he burst onto the scene during his Sophomore year with 902 yards receiving on 42 receptions. He declared for the 2015 NFL Draft after finishing with 741 yards on 34 receptions to go along with 4 TDs in his Junior campaign, and was selected in the 3rd round of the draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Coates had a rough go of it and got buried on the depth chart. He played sparingly his rookie year. In 2016 Sammie caught 21 passes for 435 yards and 2 TDs, however injuries drug down a good portion of his efforts for the year and early into training camp for 2017. Traded to the Browns, Sammie was with the team through Spring of 2018, where he then joined the receiver needy Texans. Cut by the Texans, Sammie went through training camp with the Chiefs, but did not make the roster.
He’d be selected in the 3rd round of the XFL Draft by the Houston Roughnecks where he is expected to see serious playing time in the Run N Shoot offense under guru June Jones.
I ended up drafting Sammie for my fantasy team. He had some near misses on TD grabs during the XFL regular season. Over the course of 4 games he caught 6 passes for 61 yards. I tried to see if he’d sign his XFL card for me TTM, but I didn’t get a response.
Sorry this post is going to be different. It’s going off the rails a bit from the usual player biography.
Today we’re going to talk about when paid signings go bad, because I was the recipient of one. I had been after Jermaine Lewis for years, but being a terrible TTM signer, I decided to wait since I wanted him on a sorta rare Texans Inaugural Set card.
After missing out on a signing on a budget for Lewis earlier this year, I was super happy to find an affordable one going on in early November through IPO Sports Marketing. I put my card in the mail and patiently waited. The trade was accepted on October 31st. The event was scheduled for 11/14, but later on I discovered that he hadn’t updated his SCN offer to match his flyer, which said November 21st!) On December 1st I emailed the guy and asked him about the event. He did not respond. The next day I received my card back, with this additional random Topps card signed, and a note stating, “No Texans cards. Sorry.” -That’s it.
I emailed IPO Sports Marketing that day on December 2nd telling him that what I received was unacceptable and that I would like a full refund. I got no response.
I checked my SCN outbox on December 4th and noted that he had not opened any of my emails, so I decided to escalate the situation through Paypal and leave negative feedback through SCN where the trade was facilitated. -I had been more than patient with IPO Sports Marketing, and now it was taking too much of my time.
An hour or two later, I got an email from Paypal indicating my refund. Then shortly afterwards IPO Sports Marketing put my SCN email on blitz. He responded first to my email on 12/1 about where my cards were with a tirade:
I was not aware that he did not sign Houston cards til signing. I tried to give you a free card and refund. But you gave a negative?? Insane. We have had countless signings this and last month. Now you to will receive a negative. I have lost a childhood friend to Covid. But hey your card is more important!
– IPO Sports Marketing
Ok let me lay this out since he subsequently blocked me:
a. If he wasn’t aware that Lewis didn’t sign Houston cards, why didn’t he contact me over the next two weeks after the signing to let me know?
b. He sent me that autographed card, but did not tell me I’d be issued a refund, nor did he do it until I requested one.
c. Yes I patiently waited for his service that he did not fulfil correctly or with customer service.
d. I don’t care if he had countless signings. – This is called an ‘argument by authority.’ I can easily say that I have gone to HUNDREDS of in person signings, but does that give me any credo: Nooo.
e. Negative feedback? -That’s retaliatory.
f. Sorry, I didn’t know he lost somebody to COVID. -That’s his personal business though and isn’t material to the transaction.
g. My card is important to me. -Why is he belittling me for his failure? Maybe he’s really only interested in the big fish that he’s cooking and not little guys like me? I mean just says more about him.
His next email was one telling me to be patient and they’d offer me a refund AFTER I got the card in the mail. The problem was the email he responded to was the email that I told him that I had already received the card and it was not acceptable from 12/2.
His last email was notification of the negative feedback he left me, where he claims to have offered me a free card and a full refund- and that I am just a crazy person.
So I immediately contacted the admins at SCN, and after investigating they removed his retaliatory feedback (not to mention it is clearly stated not to do it in the rules). IPO Sports Marketing attempted to explain a revisionist history of the situation, trying to make it sound like they had offered me the card for free and a refund and that I was just a crazy person who ran off and hammered them with Paypal and negative feedback.
Now why would I do that when I just want my autographed card? Why would I create unnecessary drama for myself like that? This has happened to me in the past, and you know how the seller handled it with me? COMMUNICATION. And you know what I did? – I didn’t leave negative feedback. That’s for sure. (What IPO Sports Marketing failed to understand as a retailer is with every customer service mistake, there’s an opportunity to fix and an opportunity to make another sale- but he didn’t.)
All he had to do was say, “Hey couldn’t get this done. I’m so sorry. Here’s a free autographed card. I’ve already refunded you your money (and gone through with it).” That’s the tragedy of it. It became a mountain for me to stand on because he refused to deal with the mole hill in front of him.
I do not take negative reviews lightly and I do not like issuing them whether its SCN or EBay or whatever. I am exceedingly patient, so when I decide I am unhappy with a service, it is not done lightly. It is done after methodical documentation and an opportunity at every corner to give the retailer a chance to communicate with me or make me whole.
Thankfully with the available time date stamps from the emails that I received from both my personal email and SCN, I was able to compose a timeline for them to review, so they could understand that his timeline of events was not accurate. My negative feedback was accurate to the situation and the moment, but after this happened, I felt I should write about it, so others would be aware that there are bad signing situations that happen.
Later that week, a Ravens fan posted all his Jermaine Lewis autographs that he obtained from that signing. Curiously, he included 3 signed Texans cards that Lewis had penned. What took the cake later, was one of my friends also experienced a similar situation with the IPO Sports Marketing. IPO offered to send him any Jermaine Lewis autograph that he had- and sent a photo grouping of all the cards, and among them again was another Jermaine Lewis Houston Texans card.
Why would IPO Sports do this to me? Coupled with my friend’s issue, I am led to believe that IPO Sports forgot to get our cards signed, then sloppily tried to cover it up.
There are a lot of people out there who shouldn’t be handling signings (especially now during the days of COVID). There are people who don’t understand customer service, who are overwhelmed by their own lives, problems, or underlying issues that they didn’t understand about handling autograph signings.
Be patient with them. Go easy on them, but don’t let them gaslight you when it is their fault. Tolerate to a point and don’t be afraid to hold them accountable when you’ve been more than reasonable and had enough.
That being said I’ll wait until some other time to write about Jermaine, when I have another autograph in hand of his on his Texans card. In the meantime, and I say this with conviction: Beware about doing business with IPO Sports Marketing.
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.