Tag Archives: Minnesota Vikings

Griffin, Michael (2)


Card: Playoff Contenders 2007, Score 2008, Panini UT 2015
Acquired: 2016, EBay.  IP 2018, GiGi’s Cupcakes Soft Grand Opening
See Also: Michael Griffin

After Michael’s 9th season in the NFL, in which he recorded 101 tackles, an interception, and a sack, he was released in the off season by the Tennessee Titans.  With gas still left in the tank, Michael signed with the Minnesota Vikings for 2016. He’d be injured during the preseason and released. Rehabbing from his injury Griffin signed with the Carolina Panthers. He played in 10 games contributing 30 tackles.  In 2017, Michael joined Longhorn Legends TJ Ford and Cory Redding in finishing his bachelor’s degree with Griffin’s being in youth and community services.

I’ve always liked the Playoff Contenders series, strictly because it follows a slow evolution rule, much like the Corvette. Every year, small tweaks in the design and look of the card. The 2007 entry was a nice set, but I really disliked the tiny Titans pinstripe type. It says baseball, not football with that typeface. It’s also just dangling out there distracting from the image of the player. It does not pass the thumb test. Basically if you put your thumb to the image over the Titans pinstripe the image looks better without the pinstripe. Still it was a pretty solid card and the certified autograph works well on this canvas.

Fellow Longhorn and Titan alum, Brian Orapko and Griff had been teasing the grand opening of their cupcake restaurant GiGi’s in Bee Cave.  After I heard they had a soft opening for their social media fans the previous day, I made the trip from East of Austin all the way to Bee Cave through the freezing rain. It paid off as both Brian and Orapko were there as well as Jamaal Charles (special random guest appearance)! Michael was kind enough to pen the Panini 2015 UT card as well as his Score 2008 card. The cupcakes were also really good too!

Brister, Bubby

Cards: ProSet 1989, Fleer 1990, Topps 1990
Acquired: TTM 2017, C/o Home
Sent: 12/23/17            Received: 1/2/18        (9 days)
Failure: TTM 2010, C/o Work

Bubby Brister is an interesting signer, as he only signs once at the end of the year. He’s been handling it this way for a few years now. If you are lucky you can get him in about 10 days flat. If you are not so lucky, you send in mid-January and wait until the end of the year. Still he is a reliable signer and he’s got some great cards out there in his Steelers uniform. Anything else feels a bit odd.

Bubby bounced around colleges before landing at NW Louisiana. This was thanks in part to committing to play baseball (Tigers) out of high school and not accepting a scholarship to Alabama (1981). He played 39 games in the Appalachian League for Bristol but decided to go back to college in 1982 to Tulane. He’d initiate the paperwork to transfer to NW Louisiana in 1983. Brister was the starter for one season in 1985.  He was 191 of 342 for 2,880 yards, and 17 TDs to 14 interceptions.

The Steelers felt that Brister was a good developmental prospect. He had the tools in order to make it at the pro level. Pittsburgh dropped a 3rd round pick on Bubby, and he’d play sparingly his first 2 seasons.  The Steelers had long suffered at the QB position after the retirement of Terry Bradshaw. This continued into the 1988 season, where Bubby finally showed signs of maturation. He threw for 11 TDs and 2,634 yards and showed some moves in the pocket rushing for an additional 6 more. I laughed at the Steelers at the beginning of the season, as Brister was inaccurate (47.5% completions and 14 interceptions), but he had the last laugh against the Houston Oilers in the playoffs. A gunslinger, Bubby had a strong arm and a penchant for the long bomb. He led the Steelers to an 8-6 mark and a 9-7 mark as a starter the following seasons.  During his 1990 season, Brister had a career high 2,725 yards and 20 TDs to only 14 interceptions.

Bubby was unable to completely duplicate his success in that 1990 season, as he’d be limited to only 8 games in 1991 due to a knee injury. He’d never start a full 16 game slate again. After playing for the Steelers through 1992-  Bill Cowher’s rookie head coaching season, Bubby was allowed to test the waters of free agency in 1993- as the team was comfortable with current starting quarterback Neil O’Donnell.  Thus began the journeyman phase of Brister’s career.

Bubby signed with the Eagles in 1993- where he’d back up oft injured Randall Cunningham. He’d post a 4-4 record in relief of Randall throwing 14 TDs to just 5 interceptions, and raising some eyebrows. Brister played one lone forgettable season for the Jets in 1995, and then hopped over to Broncos. In Denver, Bubby stayed for the next 4 seasons. Brister came on during the clutch posting a 4-0 record for the Broncos in relief of John Elway and helping the team win the Super Bowl in 1998. He’d retire after one final season in Minnesota (2000) and as of 2018 lives in his home state of Louisiana.

G/GS  99/75        ATT 2212         CPD 1207        YDS   14445
TD 81       INT 78       RAT 72.3

RUSH 191      YDS 546       AVG 2.9      TD 8       LG 38

 

Jean, Lestar ‘Star’

Cards: Sage 2011 Houston Rookies Dual Auto, Sage 2011
Acquired: 2017, EBay

Lestar Jean had an upwards ticking career while at Florida Atlantic. The wide receiver increased his production in every year while playing at the college. In 2010, his Senior season, Jean had 64 receptions for 988 yards and 8 touchdowns. He finished his 4 years at FAU with 146 receptions for 1992 yards and 15 TDs.  Considered still pretty raw, scouts loved his build, size, and his explosiveness. They felt he was a sneaky developmental prospect for the pro level. After not being drafted, he’d sign with the Houston Texans as a free agent.

He’d lose his entire rookie season to a shoulder injury, but after a strong preseason in 2012, he entered the season as the 4th wide receiver on the roster after an impressive preseason. During a 31-25 win over Denver, he’d make a 46 yard grab- displaying his big play potential. Although he tore his Meniscus on the catch he returned later in the season, rocking a 54 yard bomb for his first professional TD in a 24-10 shellacking of division rival Tennessee.  In the meantime he’d bide his time on special teams.

Things came apart for the Houston Texans in 2013. They’d go from rags to riches, both in record and quarterback play, as Matt Schaub and a bevvy of other quarterbacks struggled in his place.  Did Jean just not get the ball? Did coaches have enough of him hearing footsteps and dropping passes? Regardless, the Texans opted not to tender him after the season after only recording 4 receptions for 35 yards on the season.

Lestar would go on the free agent tour, trying out for the Dolphins and Panthers, eventually signing with the Vikings.  He’d be placed on IR and released with an injury settlement in 2014 before even taking the field for Minnesota.  Lestar rehabbed from injury and was part of the NFL’s first NFL Veteran Combine. Teams kicked the tires on Jean but did not sign him. He’d throw his hat in with the new MLFB (selected by Team Florida), but when a major investor backed out, the well intentioned league was left adrift.  He was later assigned to the Orlando Predators of the Arena Football League in 2016 but did not take the field for the squad.

I remember when I played football, my coach came up to me on a few occasions after practice. He’d say to me, “I can’t tell what’s up with you. Some days you look like prime rib out there. Other days you look like a butt steak…” I feel like I found my pro equivalent in Lestar Jean.