In 1979, posted 1,013 yards receiving and a career high 22.5 yards per reception.
Played briefly in 1982 for the Vikings, and rounded out career in ’83 with the Seahawks.
Suited up during the Players Strike in ’87 for the Patriots, but didn’t play.
Has a long and prolific coaching career at a variety of pro, semi-rpo and college levels, as a positional and head coach.
Among his pro stops were with the Patriots (85-89), New Orleans Night (1991), Bucs (1992-93), Saints (1997-99), Hartford Colonials (2011), and Sacramento Mountain Lions (2012).
In 2014, Harold served as head coach for his Alma Mater Jackson State from 2014-15.
2nd Team AP 1972, ’77
Pro Bowl 1969, ’72-73, ’75, ’77
Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame
I’ve never had anyone personalize my cards in quotations- but okay.
Despite finishing near the top of the statistical receiving charts at the time of his career- spanning 3 eras from the 60s to the 80s, Harold has not been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Whether it’s a combination of the infamous logger jam at receiver, or the fact his stats just don’t stand out as much because it was during the dead ball era, Harold is still waiting to hear his name called.
It’s interesting, cracking down on Harold’s stats, that he has such a high yards per reception (17.9 on 579 catches), but his longest catch is just 79 yards.
Great cards- Always love the Topps 71 set. It’s classy, and it’s grown on me over the years specifically. It’s still a casual collect for me, but among Topps sets it’s one of my favorites.
CARD: Panini Contenders 2018 Rookie Ticket ACQUIRED: EBay, 2023 MEMORABILIA: Jordan Thomas’ Gloves ACQUIRED: In Person 2023, San Antonio Brahmas v Orlando Guardians
Jordan Thomas played TE for Mississippi St from 2016-17.
In his Senior season he posted 22 receptions for 263 yards and 3 TDs.
At 6’5″, 277, Thomas made a massive target and the Texans, (who love drafting TEs), selecting him in the 6th round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
He started 10 games his rookie year, catching 20 passes for 215 yards and 4 TDs.
Jordan lost a lot of his 2019 to injury- and then got buried on the depth chart.
He signed with the Cardinals as a free agent in 2020 and caught a pass for a 3 yard TD.
He’d be claimed off of waivers by the Patriots that year during the season and waived just before the new year.
The Colts signed Thomas to a reserve contract and he’d be released in September of 2021.
In 2022, he signed a futures contract with the Lions and was released just a few months later.
In November of that year, Thomas joined up with the XFL as a draft choice of the Battlehawks.
He’d be cut in early 2023, but the Orlando Guardians quickly snatched him up.
Jordan was not short of highlights playing for the Guardians, and was a star for the team.
So I started talking to players as they got ready to hit the field. I recognized Jordan from his time with the Texans and pounded his shoulder pads and gave him words of encouragement. I told him I know he’s money and that he can kill it out there- just not against the Brahmas okay? He laughed at me and then hit the field.
On the first drive he was put in single coverage near the endzone. He caught the jump ball with ease, and as he lifted the ball into the air over the diminutive CB, two DBs attempted to jump and hit the ball out of Jordan’s giant hands. There was audible laughing at the DBs who failed to get anywhere near it. It was like King Kong was slapping down airplanes on top of the Empire State Building. It was great highlight film!
For the remainder of the game the Brahmas kept DB Kameron Kelly on Jordan and Kelly kept him relatively in check. They attempted to try the same play later in the game, but unfortunately there was a miscommunication between QB Dormandy and Jordan resulting in an incompletion.
The following week against his former team Jordan had another highlight worthy play against his former team- the Battlehawks. He caught an 84 yard catch and run on a fake punt for a TD. On the season he had 8 receptions for 148 yards and 3 TDs.
At half time during the game against the Guardians he laughed as he walked toward me and I yelled at him, “I want your gloves man!” He laughed. As the game ended in a Brahmas win, Jordan was one of the last players off the field. The kids were screaming and yelling, harassing players for anything. As Jordan approached they went into overdrive. He laughed again, and said, “I promised my man here for these gloves, took off the sweaty 3XXX gloves and handed the pair to me.
I totally blew it and forgot to pack his Texans card I had, so I went ahead and bought a certified card off of EBay. I hope to see him next year, though at the same time, I’d love to see him return back to the NFL.
Russ Francis was a three year starter at TE for the Oregon Ducks.
It was really in his Junior year in 1974 he put up some outstanding numbers, catching 31 passes for 495 yards and 4 TDs.
A monster prospect, clocking in at 6’6″, 245, Russ not only had the hands, he had the size as well.
Russ was a slam dunk first round pick of the New England Patriots in 1975, taken 16th overall.
Russ chewed up the scenery his rookie year with the Pats, with 35 catches for 636 yards and 4 TDs.
In 1980, Russ had a career high 664 yards and 8 TDs on 41 receptions.
After the Patriots refused to give Russ a bonus for his Pro Bowl appearance, combined with how the team treated teammate Daryl Stingley after his paralization, Francis opted to retire.
Russ became a broadcaster briefly with ABC Sports, but after having a conversation with 49ers Bill Walsh, decided to come out of retirement in ’82.
Russ joined the ‘9ers, through a trade, just in time to help them build their dynasty, and helping the team win Super Bowl XIX in 1984.
He’d post a career high 44 receptions in 1985.
Russ played 7 games with the ‘9ers in 1987, before returning back to the Patriots.
He played one more year with New England in ’88, spending the entire ’89 campaign on IR, retiring soon thereafter.
Russ has had a robust life since retirement, participating in Wrestlemania II, dabbling in politics, hosting radio, and outdoor shows.
Pro Bowl 1976-’78
Polynesian Sports Hall of Fame (Contributor)
NWA Hawaii Tag Team Championship (1978)
I really, really wanted Russ to be my first response of 2022, but he ended up responding a few months later. Still, a great response from Russ, who put a lot of inscriptions on the card. He also wrote a nice note saying that he, “Had a great time in Wrestlemania II!”
Russ has two nicknames. He was dubbed ‘All-Universe’ because he could do it all when he came into the NFL. His second, ‘All-World Tight End’ was given to him by Howard Cosell during a MNF contest.
I think Russ deserved this card as a legend, and a lot more credit than he gets. A prolific receiver during the dead ball era, if not for an injury and retiring suddenly, he easily could’ve topped out over 6k yards. Nothing to sneeze at when 5 seasons were during the infamous dead ball era.
Russ appears on the original Tecmo Super Bowl as a member of the San Fransisco 49ers. He is notable as he is the receiver for a play that can not be defended against that if you time the pass right, catches the ball on every throw, even under heavy blitz.
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.