Tag Archives: Miami Dolphins

Gary, Cleveland



Cards: ProSet 1990, Action Packed 1991
Acquired: TTM 2017, C/o Home
Sent: 4/17    Received: 5/9   (29 days)

I had been looking for Cleveland Gary for some time. Oddly the ‘old’ LA Rams guard (pre St.Louis) are for the most part difficult to get or resentful of their playing time there.  I couldn’t find his ProSet 1989 entry in his Miami Hurricanes gear, so I just shot out his 90 ProSet instead. He signed these two cards for me in roughly a month. I really like both photos on these cards here. I was always a huge fan of Action Packed, and this moderately close image, framed was typical of this set.

A transfer from UGA, Cleveland Gary was a member of the 1987 Miami Hurricanes National Championship team.  Initially he played behind such football fullback stalwarts such as Alonzo Highsmith and Melvin Bratton before getting his break. In 1988, he ran for 480 yards and 7 TDs, and caught 57 passes for 655 yards and 4 TDs. His 57 catches at the time were a single-season Hurricanes record. The Rams loved their running game so selecting Gary- the premier fullback in the 1989 draft really made sense. He’d be the second of the Rams first round picks in that year, (and the second Hurricane that they’d select) at pick 26.

After a middling rookie season, Cleveland became a bright spot in the Rams overall underwhelming 1990 campaign. He’d work his way into the starting lineup starting 7 games, and lead the NFL with 14 rushing TDs on 204 carries (808 yards).  In one of his finest moments, Gary ran for 3 TDs against the undefeated 49ers in a rain soaked affair that season. The game marked the 49ers first loss in over a year.

1991 was an injury plagued year for Gary, yet he rebounded in 1992 after the Rams made a coaching change to Chuck Knox. Cleveland had a career high 1,125 yards  on 279 carries, and caught 52 receptions for 293 yards with 10 total TDs. 1993 was another off season for Cleveland. He’d rush for just 293 yards on 79 carries and catch 36 passes for 289 yards.

He’d be released by the team in late August of 1994 and then was sidelined by appendicitis. Gary recovered and in October of that year rejected an offer from the Dallas Cowboys and signed with the Miami Dolphins. He ran for just 11 yards in 2 games and retired after the season.

Cleveland has done pretty good for himself after football. After dabbling in minor league indoor football leagues he was last spotted as the CEO of the Black Shopping Channel in 2016.

G/GS 68/29     RUSH 674      YDS 2645     AVG 3.9      TD 24      LG 63
REC 135     YDS  874        AVG  6.5       TD 5         LG  60

 

Porter, Joey

Cards: Upper Deck 2009, Score 2009
Acquired: TTM 2016, C/o The Pittsburgh Steelers
Sent: 8/22    Received: 9/12   (21 days)

Joey Porter pound for pound was one of the most dominant linebackers of the 2000s.  Taken in the 3rd round of the 1999 draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers, Joey was still pretty raw to the linebacker position, something he had switched to from H-Back during his college days at Colorado State.

He’d bide his time on special teams generally over the course of his rookie year. Still he’d record his first professional touchdown on a forced fumble from Neil O’Donnell.  In 2000, he’d start his first full 16 game slate for the Steelers at right outside linebacker, recording 10.5 sacks, and another fumble that he’d return for a TD- that time as he victimized Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb. He’d also notch his first career safety.  In 2002, Joey earned his only All Pro nomination, with a career high 60 tackles, and 4 interceptions for 153 yards, to go along with 9 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles.  Porter also went to Hawaii after the season and also in 2004 and 2005 while with the Steelers.

Joey took his show to Miami in 2007 where he was unleashed upon the AFC East. Adding teeth to the Dolphin defense, Joey played all over the field at linebacker, outside linebacker, and at defensive end. In 2008 he’d make one more Pro Bowl, as he had a career high 17.5 sacks.  After the 2009 season, Joey signed with the Arizona Cardinals. He’d play for them through the 2011 season, and then retire after signing a one day contract with the Steelers in 2012.

Joey entered the coaching ranks, first as a defensive assistant at Colorado State in 2013. Afterwards he joined the Steelers in the same capacity, honing his knowledge under then defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau in 2014.  He’d be promoted to linebackers coach in 2015, a capacity in which Joey’s served through 2017.

Among his honors, Joey was named to the NFL 2000’s All Decade team and the Pittsburgh Steelers All-Time Team. In 2016 he also was nominated to the Pro Football Hall of Fame but did not make the final cut. He kindly signed these two cards for me through the Steelers in under 30 days.

G/GS 188/171   TAC 498   SAC 98.0   FUM 25
INT 12   YDS 233    AVG 19.4     TD 1    LG 84

Welker, Wes ‘The Natural’

Card: Score 2009
Acquired: TTM 2016, C/o Home
Sent:  5/23    Received:   6/4     (12 days)

Wes Welker was a prolific slot man that played in the NFL from 2004-2015. Going undrafted out of Texas Tech in 2004, Welker had developed quite a reputation as a stellar return man and do-it-all offensive weapon for the Red Raiders, tying an NCAA record with 8 punt returns for touchdowns.

Welker signed with the San Diego Chargers, but was cut after the first game of the season to make room for another player. He’d catch on with the Dolphins who used him on kick and punt return duties. It’s there he’d burn the New England Patriots who took note of his unique skillset. As the anemic Dolphin offense continued to struggle, Welker went from being on the chopping block, to becoming the life blood of the offense. Opting not to resign Wes initially after the 2006 season, Welker became a restricted free agent.  That’s when the Patriots pounced.

Offering the required 2nd round tender, New England stripped their bitter rival of their best offensive weapon. Wes went on to become quarterback Tom Brady’s most reliable target. Over the next 6 seasons, Wes racked up 672 receptions for 7459 yards and 37 touchdowns- including a 99 yarder. In 5 of those seasons he had 110+ receptions, leading the league three times in 2007 (112), 2009 (123), and 2011 (122).  From 2008-2012 Welker earned ProBowl honors, with his 2009 and 2011 seasons earning him All Pro.

Facing a quandary after the 2013 season, the Patriots were unable to come to terms with Welker to keep him in New England. To top things off, he signed with the newly retooled Denver Broncos to be Peyton Manning‘s go to guy, but Wes got the concussion bug.

You see the NFL had decided to finally take a more aggressive stance on the issue, and Welker’s size and fearlessness in the slot lent him to take shots regularly to the head. He’d play the 2013 and 2014 seasons for the Broncos and a final swan song for the St. Louis Rams in 2015. Although he didn’t want to retire, most teams saw his injury proneness as a liability, so in a sense Wes was forced to retire.

In 2017, Welker returned to the NFL scene. He was quickly courted by the Houston Texans during the Senior Bowl in Mobile and named as an offensive assistant where he is reunited with his former coach Bill O’Brien and a host of other former Patriots. It is thought that at this time he will provide assistance coaching the Texans’ wide receiver corps and break down film.

When I saw that Wes Welker was signing via a few websites I follow that track autograph returns from players, I didn’t hesitate at quickly sending him out two of my favorite cards- Score 2009, and Donruss Rookies & Stars 2009 Gold. Now,  I did only get the Score 2009 back and Wes personalized it, but I always point out that personalization doesn’t bother me, and that I am happy getting one rather than none. Maybe he really liked that Donruss Rookies & Stars 2009 as much as I did!

G/GS 175/102    REC 903     YDS 9925    AVG 11.0    TD 50    LG 99T
KR  183     YDS 4138      AVG 22.6   TD 1   LG 95T
PR 264      YDS 2584      AVG 9.8       TD 0   LG 71