Marinas Rankin played tackle for Mississippi State from 2015-2017. In 2017, he earned first team All-SEC Honors and the Kent Hull Trophy (which is given annually by the state of Mississippi for the best offensive lineman in the state).
He’d be selected near the top of Round 3 by the lineman needy Houston Texans. The Texans had an abysmal offensive line in 2017 and it didn’t get any better after trading longtime stud Duane Brown to Seattle. In the offseason Houston cut guys who underperformed and signed a few free agents to try to shore up the front. Rankin started off slowly as a foot injury slowed him during camp, but he returned before the preseason concluded to get some much needed playtime.
Martinas would be thrown into the fire however as starting RT Sentrel Henderson broke his ankle during the first game of the season against the Patriots. The Texans shuffled the line and Rankin entered the starting lineup at Left Tackle playing there the next three games. He started one last game late in the season against the Eagles and finished the season garnering experience at both tackle and left guard.
Going into 2019, Martinas has received a fair amount of praise with his improved play at guard and with Zach Fulton locking down the left guard position, Rankin is in a battle with Senio Kelemete for the RG spot.
George Rogers played runningback for the South Carolina Gamecocks from 1977 to 1980. He really helped put South Carolina’s football team on the map by winning the Heisman Trophy in 1980, when George rushed 297 times for 1781 yards and 14 TDs. He finished his college career pretty much owning all the Gamecock career rushing marks with 927 carries for 5091 yards and 31 TDs, along with 43 receptions for 389 yards and 2 TDs.
The moribund New Orleans Saints finally caught a break, and with George selected #1 overall by the team, he’d help transform the team from a perennial cellar dweller and give New Orleans an identity. George came out of the gates running. He’d be named rookie of the year in 1981 after he led the league in carries (378), yards (1674) and average yards per game (104.6). He’d also haul in a career high 16 receptions for 126 yards and score 13 total touchdowns. George played for the Saints over the next 3 seasons before being traded in a blockbuster trade to Washington in exchange for their first round pick.
The second stanza of Rogers’ career began in Washington, as George replaced an aging John Riggins in the backfield for head coach Joe Gibbs. George posted 2 more 1000+ yard seasons in 1985 and 1986, leading the NFL in TDs with 18 in the latter. He’d win a Super Bowl Title in 1987, but shortly after the season announce his retirement at the age of 29- due in part to nagging injuries.
You see, Rogers was a big back and he absorbed a lot of hits over his career. Concussions and lingering knee injuries did their part to cut it short. Looking back at how aggressively the Redskins loved to run the ball, one wonders where George would’ve stood in the NFL record books if he hadn’t retired so soon. Hypothetically, if we just go with George’s Redskins average of 71 yards per game and multiply that out over the course of a 16 game schedule- that’s 1136 yards. 3 more years like that and he’d have been a member of the 10k club and a probable member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Regardless Rogers has enjoyed receiving accolades since retirement, being named to the College Football Hall of Fame, having his number retired by his Alma Mater, and various other tributes from South Carolina and the Saints.
I had been thinking about getting him on a few cards since he sort of flies under the radar now and these two really fit the bill nicely. I think the way George played in his career, he is well regarded as a member of both the Saints and the Redskins and this Upper Deck 1997 really does it up right. Although he got some fingerprint stains on my Contenders card, I really like the photo and framing of this set. Panini Contenders seems to do it right for me design wise, since most sets since 2010 really do not intrigue me as much as they used to.
Tegray Scales played linebacker for the Indiana Hoosiers and really had a nose for the ball, racking up 102 tackles, 13 sacks, and 2 interceptions in his Senior campaign. An incredibly instinctive player and leader, Scales is considered undersized for the position measuring in at just above 6’2″, 215- so the thought I guess the scouts have is that he’d get swallowed up as an ILB. To me he makes an interesting project. Could he put on the muscle mass while maintaining the speed? I mean he’s already demonstrated the intangibles. Perhaps he’d make an interesting linebacker/safety hybrid? The Rams brought him into camp after the draft but he didn’t make the squad. After a short stint at the end of 2018 with the Colts, Tegray was signed in early 2019 by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.