Tag Archives: oakland raiders

Williams, Harvey

Cards: Action Packed Rookies 1991, Action Packed Rookies 1992, Gameday 1992
Acquired: TTM 2017, C/o Home
Sent: 8/1     Received:  8/11  (10 days)
Failure: TTM 2010, C/o Home

Harvey Williams is an intriguing story in football history.  A tricky inside runner with really nice hands, Harvey played for the LSU Tigers from 1986 to 1990. His best season came in 1987 when he had 1001 yards on 154 carries and 11 TDs, along with 20 receptions. He finished 3rd in school history with 2,660 yards rushing, and set a few records along the way. He rushed for a single game high 213 yards against Kentucky, and tied a school record with 4 TDs rushing against Miami, OH.  With intriguing size and speed, scouts were concerned about lingering knee injuries and his consistency entering the pro level.

Harvey was the second runningback taken during the 1991 Draft. He’d go at #21 overall to the Chiefs surprisingly- a team that was deep with Christian Okoye, Barry Word, and Todd McNair at runningback. Still Harvey was pictured as the game breaker that the Chiefs needed for their Martyball offense. (Notably the 1991 draft is a graveyard of runningbacks. Among them, the most successful is probably Gary Brown– and he was converted from Safety.)  Harvey had a pretty decent run his rookie campaign.  He led the team in yards from scrimmage with 1,118 yards putting in time as a kick returner (524 yards), and change of pace back (97 carries, 447 yards, 16 receptions 147 yards). He also scored 2 TDs receiving and 1 rushing.   He continued to bide his time in 1992 as a kick returner and 3rd down back.  After the backfield moved on from KC, Harvey got beat out by future HoFer Marcus Allen for the starting gig in 1993.  Things got worse when Harvey suffered a frightening hit that left him motionless on the turf.  While he recovered, it pretty much ended his season and his time in KC.

He finally reached his potential when he signed with the Raiders the following year in 1994. Harvey was a true Raider through and through. He walked the walk and talked the talk.  During his first season with the Raiders he ran 282 times for 983 yards and 4 TDs. He also got to display those impressive hands, snatching 47 receptions for 391 yards and 3 TDs. In 1995 he had his best season as a pro registering 1114 yards on the ground and 9 TDs, along with 54 receptions for 375 yards. While he lost the starting job to Napoleon Kaufman in 1996, Williams continued to play for the Raiders and even made a memorable transition to TE/ H-Back, retiring after the 1998 season.

Great cards here of Harvey. It was impossible to choose even my top 5, as all the vendors at the time had great photos of him in action. These 3 cards were among my favorite. Both of his Action Packed entries really stand out with their vibrant color and just bursting with action. Even though I am very disappointed in the dying marker he used to sign my cards, I was happy to finally get Harvey’s autograph.

G/Gs  110/47    Rush 1021    Yds 3952     Avg 3.9     TD  20     Lg 60
Rec  193     Yds 1442   Avg 7.5    Td 7   Lg 32
KR  54   Yds 1135   Avg 20.3    Td 0   Lg 76

 

Holland, Johnny ‘Mr. Everywhere’

Cards: ProSet 1990, Topps 1990, Action Packed 1990, Topps Stadium Club 1992
Acquired: TTM 2016, C/o The Cleveland Browns
Sent:  11/28/16   Received:  1/6/17     (39 days)

Johnny Holland was one of the galvanizing forces behind the ‘Wrecking Crew’ of the Texas A&M defense during the dying days of the Southwest Conference of the mid to late 80s.  At the time of his graduation from A&M he was the school’s all-time leading tackler and garnered Johnny the nickname ‘Mr. Everywhere’.

In 1987, the Green Bay Packers selected Johnny with their second round pick of the draft.  The ’87 draft has an impressive pedigree of linebacker talent that included: Cornelius Bennett, Shane Conlan, Brian Bosworth (SUP), Dave Wyman, Winston Moss, Michael Brooks, Scott Stephen, Byron Evans, Hardy Nickerson, Al Smith, Dennis Gibson, Greg Lloyd, and Jessie Tuggle (UDFA). Johnny fit right in, and the Packers were glad to have him, as he’d earn team rookie of the year honors from the franchise.  Johnny was a smart, instinctual, consistent, and reliable force for the Packers over the next 6 seasons- prized traits for linebackers. Although not flashy, Holland could be counted on by the Pack to post 100+ tackle seasons with regularity. During the 1992 season he herniated a disc in his neck. He rehabbed from the injury and returned to form in 1993 recording a career high 145 tackles, but learned that he had blown a disc in his back during the season. Johnny opted to retire.

He jumped almost right into coaching from there in 1995, first with the Packers until 1999. Holland served in a variety of capacities from Special Teams to Linebackers to quality control.  He then spent the next 3 seasons with the Seahawks as an assistant conditioning coach, special teams, and linebackers coach. From 2003 to 2005 Johnny was an assistant defensive coach and Linebackers coach with the Lions before his longest stint with the Houston Texans (2006-2010) as their linebackers coach.  He’d coach for the Virginia Destroyers of the UFL in 2011, and then after serving 1 season as the LB coach of the Oakland Raiders (2012), Johnny took a dip in the pool of the CFL with the British Columbia Lions LB corps (2014-2015).  He coached the ILB crew of the Browns for 2016, and as of 2017 is with the 49ers in a similar capacity.

Beloved by the Packers’ faithful, Johnny was inducted into the franchise’s Hall of Fame in 2001.  He also has been honored by both Texas A&M (1993) and the Cotton Bowl (2000) for his contributions to the sport.

Johnny is a very good signer through the mail. He signed these 4 cards for me via the Browns back in 2016. Johnny’s Proset 1990 card is a beast and his Stadium Club entry does not disappoint either.  The other two entries are kinda bad. Action Packed gives an entry of him from behind. That’s not what  you want to see, however I selected it because I got so many duplicates of this card when I used to get them at the 7-11 I might as well get it signed too. Topps 1990 suffered from a lot of bad things. Bad design and lazy photography riddled the set. Still it was a foundation of my set collecting of my childhood and sometimes the portrait photos of the players just stick with me, like this one of Johnny.

G/GS  103/100    TAC 777     SAC  3.5      FUM  15
INT  9     YDS  130      AVG  14.4      TD  0      LG  32

Pruitt, Greg

Card: Topps 1978
Acquired: 2016, Future Considerations

An elusive and explosive back out of the backfield at the University of Oklahoma, Greg Pruitt finished 3rd in Heisman voting in 1971 and 2nd in 1972. The All-American rushed for 3,122 yards and 41 touchdowns for the Sooners over his time there.  Measuring up at 5’10”, 190 Pruitt was lucky not to take a pounding, because defenders rarely got squared up on him.

The Cleveland Browns were intrigued by the diminutive back,  and selected Greg with their second round pick of the 1973 draft slotting him behind their future HOF runningback Leroy Kelly. Pruitt was as advertised and immediately added an extra charge to the Browns offense primarily as a kick returner and punt returner. In 4 of his first 5 seasons, Greg earned Pro Bowl honors. It’d be in 1975 that he’d really hit his stride as a runningback, cranking out 3 straight 1,000+ yard seasons in a row as well as demonstrating a knack as a reliable receiving option out of the backfield.  In 1974 and 1975, Pruitt had nearly 1,800 all purpose yards, and achieved at least 1,100 all purpose yards 6 times over 12 seasons.  He’d enjoy career highs at receptions in 1980 (50) and then 1981 (65), before taking his show to Oakland to join the Raiders as their return man. In 1983 he’d lead the NFL in punt returns, putting together a whopping 58 returns for 666 yards and a 97 yard TD, earning his final pro bowl berth. The 58 returns and 97 yard TD were second in NFL history, while the 666 yards was an NFL record (all since surpassed).  He’d win a Superbowl XVIII ring and retire after the 1984 season.

Greg Pruitt had some amazing highlight film of him running through defenders hands as they literally tore his jerseys off his pads. The problem was he intentionally wore those tear away jerseys so he could shake off those pesky tacklers.  In response the NFL enacted the ‘Greg Pruitt Rule’ preventing any player from wearing tear away jerseys in 1979.

Greg was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999, and the Cleveland Browns Legends Class of 2001.  Many of his records still stand tall on the Browns records lists, both single season and career. He currently lives in the Cleveland area where he owns a construction company.

DeadHorse went to a nearby signing to him in Ohio and came up with a few signatures for me from old Browns runningback greats Earnest Byner, Kevin Mack, and Greg Pruitt.  Thankfully DeadHorse was paying attention as I got Greg and Mike Pruitt confused. He switched out my Mike Pruitt card and came through with a nice autograph for the collection.

G/GS  158/82     RUSH   1196    YDS  5672    AVG 4.7    TD 27   LG 78t
REC 328     YDS 3069    AVG 9.4    TD 18    LG 60t
KR  106    YDS 2514   AVG 23.7    TD 1    LG 88t
PR  194    YDS 2007  AVG 10.3    TD 1   LG 97t