Tag Archives: New England Patriots

Hill, Austin

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Cards: Leaf Draft Metal 2015, Sage 2015
Acquired: 2016, Box Breaker

His Sophomore season was a breakout year at Arizona, as Austin Hill had 1,364 yards and 11 touchdowns. Unfortunately he tore his ACL, going down in the second-to-last practice of the spring. After he returned in 2014, his numbers fell to 48 receptions for 630 yards and 4 TDs.  Concern lingered into the draft about his knee, and Austin went undrafted.

Austin has kept the dream alive, and his agent must be commended for how he’s kept Hill in the face of executives and scouts. He has been on the rosters of no less than 5 teams including the Raiders, Jets, Patriots, and the CFL Ottawa Redblacks. He became a fan favorite on NFL’s Hard Knocks with the Los Angeles Rams at his last and most recent stop, with his pure love for the game and his daughter.  He was among the final cuts made by the team, but may make an impression on an NFL team’s practice squad somewhere.

 

Groy, Ryan ‘Yorg’

sa14 rgroyCard: Sage 2014
Acquired: 2015, Box Breaker

Ryan Groy clocked in at an impressive 6’5″, 320 but went undrafted out of Wisconsin. While playing for the Badgers, Ryan had a lot of experience playing on the line at all positions except right tackle. He also played 13 games as a fullback in 2010. Ryan signed a free agent contract with the Bears and was promoted to the team roster late in the season. He’d be traded to the New England Patriots in 2015, but was cut with an injury settlement.  He was later signed to the Bucs practice squad, and then to the Buffalo bills active roster.  Groy continues to blossom as a lineman in the NFL seeing action for the first time in 16 games, while starting 7 of those contests during 2016.

Baab, Mike ‘The Baabarian’

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psetplat93_mbaab
pset90_mbaabpset91_mbaabscosup90_mbaabCards: ProSet 1990, Pro Set 1991, ProSet Platinum 1993, Score Supplemental 1990, Skybox 1992, UT Upper Deck 2011
Acquired: TTM 2015, C/o Home
Sent: 2/16/15    Received: 4/3/16  (416 days)

Mike Baab was a fixture at center for the Cleveland Browns after being selected in the 5th round of the 1982 draft.   He is remembered perhaps most strangely for a film that he put together with his Browns teammates called “Masters of the Gridiron”, which was not only inspired by the Chicago Bears Super Bowl Shuffle, but also He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, and the section of the crowd at the stadium that called themselves Baab’s Barbarians.

Mike played with the franchise through the 1987 season where he became a leader in and out of the locker room.  He then was unceremoniously traded to the New England Patriots one week before the regular season was to began in 1988.  (Apparently head coach Marty Schottenheimer wanted to start Gregg Rakoczy at center and Mike did not want to be a backup.) The move so angered Baab that he stormed out of the team facilities and players began to openly dissent- most namely starting quarterback Bernie Kosar who criticized the move.

While Baab toiled away in New England in 1989 and 1990 (which back then amounted to a Siberian prison camp) starting 28 of 32 games, the Browns offensive line suffered and the quarterbacks took a vicious pounding. Suprisingly he was left unprotected by the Patriots following the 1990 season, so Baab put his feelers out about returning back to the place he called home for most of his football career: Cleveland.

Mike returned to Cleveland and anchored the Browns line through the 1991 season.  He’d be lured to Kansas City for one final season before finally putting up his cleats and moving back to Central Texas.

Mike was inducted into the Longhorn Athletics Football Hall of Honor in 2008.  A letterman at Texas from 1978 to 1981, Baab was voted team captain for the Longhorns as a senior. That year, he helped Texas post a 10-1-1 record, including a 14-12 upset of then-No. 3 Alabama in the Cotton Bowl, en route to second-team All-America honors.

There were so many good past and present cards of Mike, I did abuse this one slightly.  Baab was kind enough to sign these cards for me, albeit after a long wait.

Some real solid cards of here of Mike. I think my favorite of this group is the Skybox entry. The framing element that they use with the last name, really gave these cards a nice poster effect.  At the time I was surprised that these cards didn’t get more traction in the market because they were very cutting edge. I have a soft spot for the ProSet 1991 card. It’s got a nice rough close up of Baab backing up and demonstrating some sleight of hand technique while his pad rolls up his hand.  These cards pretty much encapsulated the height of my collecting days and the rebirth of it with the Upper Deck UT 2010 entry.