Tag Archives: New York Jets

Bowles, Todd

Card: ProSet 1991
Acquired: TTM 2018, C/o The New York Jets
Sent: 10/1 Received: 12/31 (91 days)

Admittedly, it’s a bit grim when you get a player or coach’s autograph in the mail from them right after they get cut or fired. Case in point- Todd Bowles. He took over Gang Green after Rex Ryan was dismissed from the franchise in 2015. He posted a solid 10-6 record right out of the box that year, but the team did not make the playoffs. Over the next 3 seasons, the Jets failed to rally back into the AFC East race, finishing dead last each year with identical 5-11 records in 2016 and 2017, and a 4-12 mark in 2018.

The franchise hired a new GM and then couldn’t find a quarterback to hitch the team to until the 2018 season. In the meantime they constantly missed on draft choices or had a lack there of and in the 2018 season lost 6 games by less than a TD. Todd was released after the season, but not before he dropped this card in the mail – signing one of two for me. He was quickly snatched up by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for their open defensive coordinator position in 2019 reuniting him with Head Coach Bruce Arians.

Todd has a rich coaching history. Technically a disciple of the Al Groh coaching tree, Todd served at a variety of stops in college before hitting it big in the NFL with the Jets as a secondary coach in 2000. He served as a defensive coordinator and secondary coach in 1997 for Morehouse and in 1998 and 1999 in the same capacity for Grambing State. Bowles joined the Browns in 2001 and remained with the franchise through 2004, eventually becoming the franchise’s secondary coach. He then coached with the Cowboys under Bill Parcells from 2005-2007, again in the secondary, before working with the Dolphins in 2008, where he’d get a taste of head coaching in 2011 going 2-1 as the interim head coach. Todd spent a year with the Eagles, and then in 2013 was the defensive coordinator for the Cardinals, where he enjoyed the most success paired with head coach and offensive guru Bruce Arians. He earned AP Assistant Coach of the Year Honors before embarking on his whirlwind tour of New York.

Amazingly- Todd has a very long playing resume as well. Going undrafted out of Temple in 1986, he signed with the Redskins playing Free Safety with the franchise through 1990- earning one Super Bowl ring. Bowles hopped over the 49ers in 1991 spending one season with the team. He’d then return to the Redskins for two more seasons before heading into coaching.

G/GSTACSACFUMINTYDSAVGTDLG
117/82N/A2.071520813.8065
WLTPCT
26410.388

Sterling, Rob

Card: ProSet WLAF 1991
Acquired: TTM 2018, C/o Home
Sent: 12/7 Received: 12/21 (14 days)

A 5th round pick of the Orlando Thunder during the WLAFs inaugural positional draft in 1991, Rob Sterling played college ball at Maine. After graduating in 1988, he’d be selected by the Eagles, but spent the entire year on IR. Acquired via plan B by the Jets the following season, he didn’t make the squad, but returned to the Eagles where he saw time on the team’s developmental squad.

Still hungry to play football, Rob signed up with the fledgling Arena Football League, and played for both the Albany Firebirds and the Washington Commandos in 1990. In limited action, Rob had 5 receptions for 50 yards and a TD, and 8 total tackles- playing both ways.

A rangy playmaker with good speed, Rob finished 3rd on the Thunder in Tackles with 43 stops and 9 pass deflections- after sitting out the final game with a knee injury. Rob’s biggest highlight came when he took a lateraled interception 33 yards for a TD against the Raleigh-Durham Skyhawks. He did not return to the league for the 1992 season.

I collaborate with fellow collector Mark (of Marks Signing Bonus) on a semi-regular basis through Sportscollectors.com. He and I send WLAF addresses back and forth of players we have gotten lucky on and while he claims that I am regularly on point, he comes up with some killer finds- including Rob Sterling. Rob originally hails from Jamaica, has got a pretty common name, and went to Maine (of all places), so I pretty much gave up on this one some time ago after doing a ton of research. Thankfully Mark passed this one along to me and Rob autographed this one in roughly 2 weeks.

G –WLAFTACSACFUMINTYDSAVGTDLG
9/10430.0103333.0133T
G- ARENATACSACFUMINTYDSAVGTDLG
80.0000-.-0-.-

Johnson, Charles

Card: Topps AAF 2019
Acquired: TTM 2019, C/o The Philadelphia Eagles
Sent: 4/10 Received: 7/26 (107 days)

Charles Johnson was the big bodied playmaker in Steve Spurrier’s Sun N Gun offense at Wide Receiver. Over 8 games, he caught 45 passes (70 targets) primarily from Garrett Gilbert, for 687 yards, 5 TDs and a 2 point conversion. His 687 yards and 70 targets were a league mark. Charles best game came against the San Antonio Commanders in Week 2, as he set AAF records with 10 catches for 192 yards and a TD.

“He’s done a fantastic job since he’s been here. He got himself acclimated to the system, and he and I have great rapport.”

– Apollos QB Garrett Gilbert

Charles Johnson’s football story starts at Antelope Valley Community College back in 2008. He caught 24 passes for 231 yards and 3 TDs, and then at Eastern Kentucky catching 3 passes for 63 yards. He transferred to Grand Valley and reshirted for a year. Returning to the gridiron in 2011 he blew the doors off of the college recording 56 receptions for 1030 yards and 15 TDs. Johnson followed that season up with an equally impressive Senior campaign with 72 receptions for 1,199 yards and 16 TDs.

Although he was not invited to the NFL combine in 2013, and hailing from a small school, Charles turned heads with his 4.39 40 on his school’s Pro Day. He parlayed his efforts to sneak onto draft boards as a 7th round pick of the Green Bay Packers. Earning a spot on the team’s practice squad, Charles was signed away by the WR needy Browns, where he spent 2013 and 2014.

He then spent the next 3 seasons with the Vikings from 2014-2016. It was with the Vikes Johnson saw the most success, cobbling together 31 catches for 475 yards and 2 TDs during 2014. Hampered by injuries and inconsistency, Johnson struggled through 2015 and 2016.

Charles signed with the Panthers in 2017, but did not make the squad. The following year in 2018 he joined the Jets, but was cut mid-year and elected to join the AAF.

After the disappointing end to the league, Charles signed within the first few days of the AAF free agent frenzy. When I saw his name popped up on the transaction boards for the Eagles, I didn’t hesitate for a second and sent out to him the following week.

As one of the older players in the AAF, Charles was of interest to many scouts in the NFL and there was a lot of chatter always surrounding what a great story he was for the league, and how just getting back to basics had really helped him fall back in love with the game. I got his autograph on his lone AAF card, and although they did come out with a Topps NOW card of him- I thought that Topps really missed out on the certified autograph boat with him.