Patrick Marlatt played defensive tackle for the West Virginia Mountaineers where he looked to go into sports management, but after WVU produced an undefeated season in ’88, Marlatt was thrust into the National spotlight along with the rest of the team. He’d be selected by the New York Jets in the 1989 NFL Draft and later see a brief stay on the practice squad of the Washington Redskins. After subsequent quick stops with the Dolphins, Lions and Bills, Pat was selected by the New York/ New Jersey Knights of the WLAF in 1991. He’d rotate in for the team and lodge 27 tackles and 3 sacks during the 91 season, and 4 sacks in the 92 campaign.
After the dissolution of the WLAF’s North American teams after 1992, Patrick transitioned into the business world earning an EMDA from WVU. Working in the financial field, Pat helps people achieve their retirement goals and plans through CAPTRUST.
Although it took Pat nearly two years to respond to my letter, it was obvious that he read it as he enclosed a nice note and also wrote down the name of many of the Knights training staff that had moved on and into other fields since their days in the WLAF.
Larry Johnson was a star runningback for the Penn State Nittany Lions in 2002. He was a virtuoso out of the backfield, both catching and running for the team and truly was a man among the boys. He’d carry the ball 271 times for 2087 yards and 20 TDs- for a hefty 7.7 yards per carry clip. He’d also catch 41 passes for 349 yards and 3 more scores. He’d finish 3rd in Heisman voting that year behind Iowa QB Brad Banks and USC QB Carson Palmer.
In what was considered to be a weak runningback crop, Larry was selected 27th overall during the 2002 NFL Draft, and was the second RB off the board- after Willis McGahee.
The Chiefs have been going through a renaissance of sorts at runningback over the last 20 years or so. It pretty much started when Priest Holmes jumped into the lead role in Kansas City in 2001. After 3-4 years of solid production with a few games here and there, it was time for Larry to go from being the most solid injury insurance handcuff, to the lead back in KC.
Larry began to assert himself as the lead back in 2005. He’d earn his first of 2 Pro Bowl berths, with 336 carries for 1750 yards, and 20 TDs. Johnson also had 33 receptions for 343 yards and a TD. In 2006, Larry actually topped those numbers, leading the NFL in touches (457) and carries (416- an NFL record), run for 1789 yards and 17 TDs while catching 41 passes for 410 yards and 2 TDs. While Larry did not see the same heavy workload the rest of his career, he’d rush for 559 yards in an injury plagued campaign in 2007, and 874 yards in 2008.
After an acrimonious 2009, Larry was cut midway through the season and finished the year on the roster of the Cincinnati Bengals with 581 yards on 178 carries. During the journeyman phase of his career, Larry spent time on the rosters of the Redskins (2010) and the Miami Dolphins (2011), before finally deciding to retire.
After Curt Warner’s run for glory in Seattle, Penn State had a really bad run of backs come out in the first round who just didn’t make the cut. DJ Dozier, Blair Thomas, Ki-Jana Carter, and Curtis Enis come straight to mind. It wasn’t until 2005, when LJ had his first impact season, that the ‘Penn St Curse’ of runningbacks to come out of college to the pros was lifted.
Johnson has had multiple brushes with the law, possibly due to CTE, as he fits all the hallmarks for the disease. Larry’s done some articles and been interviewed about it- and I feel absolutely terrible for him. I wrote him back in 2014, but did not get a response. This time around he signed these cards pretty promptly.
These are some great cards of Larry that I really liked. The Pacific, while very plain looking is classy and elegant. Upper Deck assumed stewardship of the brand in its final days and really sent them out on a nice, high note. The Upper Deck 2009 has clear and strong photography. The framing and color feels like it was inspired by the Upper Deck Legends 1997 set. – And of course, I can never get enough of the Score 2009 set. It just could’ve used a little sports photo blur on the background, as the expression of that guy with the Patriots sweater on is a bit distracting.
Dee Hart was a sparkling recruit coming out of high school. The all-purpose back signed with Alabama and played both football and ran track in 2012 but couldn’t seem to break into the starting lineup. He graduated early, and with 2 years remaining of eligibility, decided to transfer to Colorado State. In one season playing for the Rams, the 5’9″, 190 back ran for 1275 yards on 194 carries. -That’s a whopping 6.6 yards per carry. Dee also had 16 TDs rushing and 18 receptions for 189 yards and 2 TDs.
He declared for the 2015 NFL Draft, but went unselected. Dee later got a tryout with the Dolphins, but was cut before the season started. I think Dee still has a shot and I think he could make an impression in one of the new Spring football leagues popping up here in 2019.
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.