Splitting starts initially with Randall Telfer at tight end at USC, Xavier Grimble declared as a junior for the 2014 NFL draft. He finished with 69 receptions for 731 yards and 11 touchdowns. Going unselected, Grimble has seen times on the practice squads of the Giants, Patriots and 49ers in 2014, before landing on the roster of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2015, where he made his 2 first professional catches and his first TD against the Bengals in 2016. He finished the season with 11 catches for 118 yards and 2 TDs. He’s expected to make a run for the starting tight end position in Pittsburgh going into 2017.
Stephen Baker the Touchdown Maker. Back in the Stone Ages of Giants football, before they developed an aerial attack of note (well except for that fluke season when Simms passed for 5,000 yards) the Giants just had no… panache to their wide receiver corps. They had lunch pail guys like Lionel Manuel and Odessa Turner, but relied heavily on a plodding ground game and Mark Bavaro to make the offense click. In stepped Stephen Baker, a dangerous speedster out of none other than Fresno State.
Fresno State provided a wonderful wide receiver pipeline to the NFL during the 80s. A JC transfer, Stephen saw two years of action with the Bulldogs, posting gaudy numbers with 29 receptions for 844 yards, a 29.1 average, and 3 TDs in 1985, and 33 receptions for 785 yards and 7 TDs in 1986. The Touchdown Maker was selected in the 3rd round of the 1987 Draft by the New York Giants. Baker did not disappoint in his long range antics. Over his 6 seasons in the NFL he posted no less than 16 yards per reception, including a career high 20.8 YPR in 1990. The season also marked his most impressionable under the gun, as he scored a TD in the Giants 20-19 win over the Bills in Super Bowl XXV. (The game to me is considered one of the most exciting Super Bowls in league history.)
The Giants had gone through some coaching changes after the Super Bowl win. Bill Parcells left the team in Ray Handley’s hands. The Giants slipped in both seasons and by 1993 Dan Reeves was coaching the team. Baker was released. He toyed with the idea of signing with the Browns and reuniting with Bill Belichick, but completely blew out his back. He consulted many doctors, but they advised him to retire.
As of 2017, the Touchdown Maker enjoys fan meet-and-greets for the Giants, and spending his spare time in photography. He also avidly flies radio controlled helicopters, planes, and quads.
The Score 1989 card of Stephen Baker is one of the reasons Topps got clobbered in the market that year. It’s a high quality photo of Baker in action about to make the catch and the shadows and color really pop. Stephen Baker signed these 3 cards for me, and included a really nice note encouraging me to connect with him through social media.
G/Gs 90/52 Rec 141 Yds 2587 Avg 18.3 TD 21 LG 85t
Pete Thomas is an intriguing quarterback prospect with a history reminiscent of former pocket passer- Pitt QB Tom Savage. A rare 2 school transfer, Thomas’ long march originally started with the Colorado State in 2010. He’d spend two years with the Rams and play in 21 games. Pete put up a decent statline, going 414/652, for 9117 yards, with 36 TDs to 36 picks. Sitting out a year, Thomas played in 9 games in 2013 for the NC State Wolfpack. He’d throw 9 TDs, and complete 149 of 247 attempts.
Thomas again changed gears after the 2013 campaign, and transferred to Louisiana-Monroe. Pete had a good year with the Warhawks, with 301 completions on 501 attempts, 3181 yards and 14 touchdowns. Going undrafted in 2015, Pete was an early mini-camp arm for the San Diego Chargers and New York Giants, but was unable to stick.
Eventually Pete signed with the Minnesota Havok of the Indoor Football League, but the team folded before it even took the field. Released from his contract he was assigned by the Arena Football League in 2016 to the LA KISS. Thomas came in during the first game of the 2016 season and didn’t relinquish the starting job all season, leading the team into the playoffs. Pete for the record completed 166 of 294 attempts for 2094 yards, 42 TDs and 8 INT. As the Arena Football League went through a massive reorganization the LA Kiss bowed out of the league. Thomas had his rookie option exercised by the Tampa Bay Storm for 2017.