Tag Archives: omaha nighthawks

Putzier, Jeb

ud06 putziertntufl11 putzier
Card: TNT UFL 2011, Upper Deck 2006
Acquired: TTM 2014, C/o Home
Sent: 2/10    Received: 6/23   (133 days)

Jeb got his start in 1999 with the Boise State Broncos. He got out onto the field as a Freshman and logged 10 receptions for 120 yards and 2 TDs from the tight end position. Considering the offensive wizardry that was employed at Boise St., Putzier was redeployed as a wide receiver from his Sophomore season on out. He topped his numbers fairly evenly each season, culminating in a Senior year with 44 receptions for 824 yards and 12 touchdowns when he was an All WAC selection. He finished his career on the blue tundra with 128 receptions for 2,050 yards, 16.0 YPR, and 19 touchdowns.

The NFL reclassified Putzier back as a tight end, going into the 2002 draft. He did not receive a combine invite, but his fairly productive career at Boise St., coupled by his size (6’4″, 251) and well received team day (4.6 40), turned some heads of the scouts enough to get some attention. He was also valued for his special teams play as a long snapper. Jeb was tabbed in the 6th round, by the Denver Broncos as a ‘value pick’. He’d start off slowly and not even see the field consistently until 2004. He’d provide some nice mismatches, making 36 receptions for 572 yards and 2 TDs in 2004. (The 15.9 YPR was the highest number by a Bronco TE in over 25 years.) Putzier then followed it up in 2005 with a modest 37 receptions for 481 yards. With the Houston Texans making Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak their head coach, Putzier signed with the team to replace Billy Miller at the position in 2006. The Texans however found Owen Daniels in the draft. While the position was retooled now with Daniels getting the majority of the snaps, Putzier ended up sharing time with Mark Bruener as well. He’d log 126 yards on 13 receptions. In 2007, he made 6 receptions for 39 yards, and 1 TD- a 7 yarder in a 38-36 loss to Tennesseee. After the season Putzier was allowed to sign with the Seattle Seahawks for 2008. There, he lasted about 6 games before resigning with the Denver Broncos, where he was cut in 2009.  Jeb signed with the UFL Hartford Colonials, but was waved in June of 2010. The Omaha Nighthawks picked him up, and he immediately fit right into the offense guided by Jeff Garcia. Putzier had 14 receptions for 144 yards and 3 touchdowns- which tied for the team lead. Of the 3 touchdowns, 2 were game winners against the Moutain Lions and the Hartford Colonials. Due to financial instability in the league, (namely players not being paid,) Putzier decided to retire after the season. Currently he lives in the Denver area where he has served as a guest on some of the local sports radio stations.

A few things were going in Jeb’s favor for me sending a request out to him: 1) He’s a former Houston Texan, and 2) I did a UFL custom entry of him a few years ago for the Omaha Nighthawks. I really had high hopes things would take off, and as some fans had egged me on to do more cards I expanded off the base set and pushed the original UFL offering out to a bit over 100 cards. It became a labor of love when I lost out on a job in the industry I wanted, and I realized the league wasn’t going to make it. A lot of it to me is about preservation, and recovering that which is already forgotten to some. It’s just an added bonus when the player wants one of these cards to remember it by too, since a lot of them didn’t get squat from the league in the end. I didn’t honestly expect this one back, but lo and behold after a little wait, Jeb signed the TNT card, plus added one of his own, and asked me for a copy of my custom! With the recent flood of requests, I really have my work cut out for me!

NFL   69/17     Rec  96        Yds  251             Avg   13.0           Td  3              Lg 39
UFL      Rec 14       Yds 144      Avg 10.3       Td 3      Lg 33


Clarett, Maurice

bo03 clarettCards: TNT UFL 2011, Bowman 2005
Acquired: TTM 2013, C/o Home
Sent: 12/19    Received: 2/11/14    (58 days)*
* Donation of $10 per flat included.

Maurice Clarett played a key role in Ohio State’s drive to the 2002 National Championship as a true freshman. He’d earn All-Big 10 Honors and be named Freshman of the Year, running for 1237 yards and 16 touchdowns on 222 carries. His game winning touchdown in double overtime in the Fiesta Bowl over the Miami Hurricanes put Clarett on the map nationally, but little did anybody know the difficult road he’d travel from that point further.

Soon thereafter it was revealed that Clarett had been receiving improper benefits (- more than he later earned at 10 games in the UFL,)  leading to his suspension for lying to NCAA investigators and his eventual departure from Ohio State. Maurice decided to declare for the NFL draft. The problem was, the NFL had an agreement in place with the NCAA not to allow high school students who had not been out of school for less than 3 years into the league. Clarett won in court in 2004, and declared for the 2005 draft. Maurice did not fare well at the combine, and was very humbled by the experience. His former Alma Mater refused to allow him to attend their pro day. The Broncos though liked what they saw out of Maurice though. He seemed to be a good fit for their ZBS based on his skillset, and ability to burst through the hole, staying low to the ground, and adjusting his speed and his direction well. They took him surprisingly in the 3rd round of the 2005 draft. Unfortunately Clarett was not prepared for the rigors of the league and found himself cut, before even playing a down.

tnt11 clarettWith his football glory completely stripped of him, and financial troubles setting in, compounded by his legal battle with the league, life was in a downward spiral for the one time shooting star. Clarett hoped to jump start his career again by playing in the NFLE or an Arena affiliate, but instead was arrested after a robbery and high speed chase in 2006.  With his 4 month daughter present at the court room, Maurice took a plea deal, and had 3 years to think about his life behind bars. Maurice began blogging. That’s when I began to catch up with Maurice. Reading his blog, it was obvious that he was ready and chomping at the bit to turn his life around. In 2010 he earned an early release.

The UFL thought that Clarett was a great fit for the league, and he was signed by the Omaha Nighthawks a few days later. The Nighthawks were loaded with former NFL veterans on offense. Jeff Garcia led the way at QB, along with Ahman Green at RB, and Jeb Putzier at TE. Clarett was to be Green’s understudy and heir apparent to the former Packers star. He’d score his first professional touchdown in a Week 7 contest against Las Vegas. He’d not return to the league as financial pressures began to mount, until the UFL’s quiet demise in 2012.

Maurice has spent a lot of time doing speaking engagements, encouraging other future stars not to lose sight of their goals. He’s also become an outspoken celebrity on depression. In 2012, he was invited back home to Ohio State to a reunion of the 2002 National Championship team, wrote an autobiography tell all, and recently was in an ESPN 30 for 30 interview.

I had made this custom of Maurice some time ago, and always wanted to get it signed. Thanks to Deadhorse from the Sportscollectors.net message board, I was able to locate a possible address for him, and shot these two cards out with a donation to his foundation. I had thought that these were long gone, even though 60 days for me is not much to sweat about, so to have these show up on my 4th successful day in a row was a real charge.

UFL       Rush 37       Yds   154        Avg 4.2        Td  1       Lg  15    |
Rec  12      Yds 98      Avg 8.2       Td 0      Lg 17

White, Dewayne

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Card: Playoff Contenders 2004
Acquired: Box Breaker 2013, Target Autograph Memorabilia Pack

white FRA very inspiring story of overcoming long odds and tragedy, Dewayne White  overcame the loss of both his parents, two fires that destroyed family homes, and a serious knee injury during his senior year of high school. He went to school collegiality at Louisville, where he established himself as one of the nation’s most formidable pass rushers at defensive end, with an NCAA leading 27 sacks from 2000-2001.

He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with their 2nd round pick in the 2003 draft but did not see significant playing time that year. In 2004, White began to come into his own with 6 sacks and 23 tackles. In both 2005 and 2006, he recovered 3 fumbles in each season with increased playing time. 2007 was a change of scene for Dewayne, as he headed up to Detroit. In both 07 and 08 he had 6.5 sacks, but an injury plagued 09 season, in which he didn’t even register a sack, combined with an upcoming million dollar bonus, prompted the Lions to cut White early in 2010.

Dewayne was made the overall #1 pick of the Omaha Nighthawks in the 2010 UFL Draft. He finished the season with 5 tackles, a sack, and 2 pass defensed that season. I did a custom card of him, but since the league folded I never got a chance to get it signed.