Cards: Proset 1991, Action Packed 1992.
Acquired: TTM Patriots Blitz 1992, C/o New England Patriots
Maurice Hurst was my ‘nickel back’ in Tecmo Super Bowl Special Edition III or whatever it was back on Super Nintendo. He was an easy pickup and a solid starter for me whenever he had to be put in the lineup in a pinch and would usually get around 3 interceptions a season. I’d send off for his autograph in a bulk mailing to the Patriots, during their disastrous late 80s and early 90s.
Maurice played for historically black college Southern University and was drafted in the 4th round of the amazingly deep 1989 draft by the New England Patriots. A fine rookie campaign netted him 5 interceptions and a touchdown, and he provided otherwise good coverage in an aged and beleaguered secondary doing a little bit of everything including kick and punt returning. He’d go on to average 3-4 picks roughly over the next few seasons.
Hurst was a gambling corner, and would have a career high 7 picks and two sacks in 1994, but the fact he played in New England during the darker days of the franchise overshadowed an otherwise ProBowl campaign. Burned twice in week 10 of 1995, Hurst was ignominiously cut and subsequently retired. In 2009 he was nominated to the Patriots 50th anniversary team and is currently ranked third on the team’s all time interception list.
As of 2010, he is president of Olympic Commerical and Residential Construction LLC assisting the city of New Orleans in its rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Katrina, and working in the residential and private sectors.
Games 105 Tac 365 Sac 3 FF 4
Int 27 Yds 263 Avg 9.7 Td 1
Cards: Action Packed 1990, Skybox 1992, Gameday 1991.
Acquired: In Person, CGA Youth Golf Tournament 1993.
See Also: Steve McMichael (2)
Steve McMichael before graduating from the University of Texas set the college’s career records for most tackles (369) and sacks (30) and was named Hula Bowl MVP in 1979. McMichael was originally drafted by the New England Patriots in 1980 and had a quiet rookie season playing for them that year only getting 5 tackles. By 1981 he was already on the street but quickly picked up by the Chicago Bears, where he’d become a mainstay at defensive tackle (and on occasion NT) in the NFC Central for the next 13 seasons (13 for Chicago and 1 for Green Bay). He’d provide solid work in the trenches as a technically sound run stopper and pass rusher. A two time ProBowl selection in 1987 and 1988, Steve would also be a two time AllPro in 1985 and 1987. He’d also notch over 10 sacks 3 times in his career along the way and played in 191 games for the Chicago Bears. (His 191 games started is a club record for consecutive starts). He’d also finish his career with 3 career safeties and was a key contributor to the Bears solid efforts to win SuperBowl XX, ironically against his ex team the Patriots. McMichael would play one more season across the lake in Green Bay before retiring in 1994.
Steve after football would pursue a career in Pro Wrestling, adopting the name “Mongo” and coming in under the WCW banner. His wife would also get into the act and was a part of wrestling’s early 1990’s attempt to sell sex. Mongo would have a much publicized wrestling career and even took on other former pro football players such as Kevin Greene and Reggie White. His life would begin to match that of the soap opera that was wrestling when his wife (Debra) left him for another wrestler in 1999. He’d leave the sport until 2008 where he refereed a match for TNA wrestling. Since those years Mongo, has done pre-game commentary for Bears games and is coach for the Chicago Slaughter of the Continental Football League. He has also since remarried and was inducted into the College Football HoF in 2010.
I got Steve’s autograph when he was riding around with Earnest Byner during the CGA Youth Golf Tournament in 1993. My strange connection to Mongo is that while I was working at a used video game store, his ex-wife’s best friend was my boss. I’d overhear from time to time my boss talking about taking morning jogs with Debra, and how her new husband sometimes was abusive towards her. It’s sad how that ended up but nonetheless things have worked out for McMichael, the hope is things have worked out for Debra too.
Games 213 Tac 838 Sac 95 FF 13
Int 2 Yds 5 Td 0
Cards: Score Supplemental 1990, Action Packed Rookies 1990
Acquired: TTM 1991, 1992 c/o The New England Patrioits
Fred Smerlas’ name alone feels like a lineman’s name. It so happens that Smerlas was a fire plug of a nose tackle, who is remembered for his playing time with the Bills, and then later for the 49ers and Patriots before he retired in 1992 after a 14 year career. Smerlas was a East Coast kind of guy, of Greek descent, playing for Boston College and then his time with the Bills and Patriots. Smerlas career is interesting as when he was drafted in the second round by the Bills in 1979, the team had been a perennial doormat of the AFC East for years. His rise to prominence along the Bills defensive front helped solidify the Bills line and assisted in their climb to prominence. During this period he’d be an integral part of Buffalo’s Bermuda Triangle Defense.
Fred notched 5 ProBowl appearances over his career (1980,1981, 1982, 1983,1988) and was a first team All Pro in 1982. At the time of his retirement he was the all time leader in games played by an NT, and was third on the Bills list with a string of 155 consecutive games played, which is amazing considering he played in the trenches.
After football Smerlas has remained as popular as ever with his recognizable mustache and colorful persona. He has dabbled in a variety of business interests and considered even a run into the political arena along with his budding radio career. A motorcyclist, Smerlas also gives a fair amount of his time and money away to charities. Smerlas was inducted into into the Bills 50th anniversary team in 2009.
Games 200 Sacks 29.5 Tac 383 FF 10
Int 2 Yds 28 Avg 14.0 TD 0