Cards: Action Packed Rookies 1991, Topps Stadium Club 1992.
Acquired: TTM, c/o New England Patriots, 1992, 1993.
The 6’2″, 235 lb bowling ball from Arizona St. was selected in the first round of the 1991 draft by the New England Patriots as they were attempting to rebuild after a dismal 1-15 season. Russell would reward the team with workman-like efficiency rushing for 935 yards and 4 touchdowns, grabbing offensive rookie of the year honors and helping the team win 6 games that year. Unfortunately, the Sophomore slump hit Russell in ’92 and he only ran for 390 yards that year, but he recovered nicely in 1993, rushing for a career high 1088 yards. After his rookie contract had expired the Patriots made Leonard an offer but he got into a disagreement with Parcells and the staff about the contract, so the Patriots decided to go in a different direction.
Russell would become a journeyman playing for the Rams, Broncos and Chargers before retiring after the 1996 season. One of Leonard’s goals was to make the playoffs, but ironically every team he played for made the playoffs after he retired. Russell at the time of this post is the Director of Business Development for Adrenaline Athletic Training Solutions in Riverside, CA.
Games 85 Att 1164 Yds 3973 Avg 3.4 Td 29 Lg 24
Rec 122 Yds 846 Avg 6.9 Td 0 Lg 69
Card: Star Pics 1992
Acquired: TTM 1993, c/o New England Patriots
An incredibly fast linebacker that ran a sub 4.3 after rehabbing from knee surgery, Todd Collins was a powerful hitter that was considered a top 5 linebacker in the 1992 draft. Collins originally committed to play for Georgia, and then transferred first to Tennessee, and later to tiny Carson-Newman. Collins was eventually drafted by the New England Patriots and played for them from 1992-1998, and the Rams through 2000. starting in a Super Bowl once for each team. Injuries shortened his career and he retired briefly for a season in 1995, but Collins was a ferocious competitor who fought through pain including a separated shoulder, a bum knee, a broken foot, and a strained neck over his tenure in the sport. In a quirky side note, before a big games Todd practiced a superstition of rubbing stones and charms over previous injuries he’d sustained. Teams even began selling an incense before the game that he apparently liked to use to profit off of his behavior.
In 1992 I began sending out for autographs bulk through the mail to teams. I’d write a letter with 20-30 cards included with it trying to get a bunch of autographs at once. Most of the time I’d get letters back saying I needed to send cards to specific players, but on the rare occasion I’d get lucky with a bulk autograph return. I focused on the really bad teams, the 1-15s and 3-12s of the year because I theorized that they’d probably get less fan mail and Todd was one of my successes during one of my Patriot blitzes.
G 106 Tac 329 Sac 3.5 Fum 4 Int 2 Yds 15 Td 0