Tag Archives: philadelphia eagles

Jurgensen, Sonny

Cards: Topps 1970, Crown Royale 2012
Acquired: 2018, C/o Home*
Sent: 10/20   Received: 11/6  (17 days)
* Donation enclosed

Sonny Jurgensen is the original gunslinger. I remember the first time I saw archival footage of him sauntering up to the line, surveying the defense, and showing off that pot belly like he didn’t care. He then cannon armed the ball down the sidelines for a TD. It was a pretty amazing feat to see. 

When Jurgensen played college ball back in… 1954, he played both quarterback and defensive back for the Duke Blue Devils. Because this was the stone age of offenses, Jurgensen’s college numbers were pretty ugly (77/156, 1119 yards, 6 TD passes to 16 interceptions). He’d be selected in the 4th round of the 1957 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. 

Sonny didn’t get a chance to start until 1961 as he was backup to Norm Van Brocklin. Regardless, he took the league by storm setting NFL records for passing yards (3723) and passing TDs (32). He wouldn’t be so successful in 1962, and after a injury riddled 1963 and losing records in both seasons, Sonny was traded to the Washington Redskins, in exchange for two players.

Thus began the second stanza of his playing career. Jurgensen played for the Redskins for the next 11 seasons. He snapped the passing record that he set previously in 1961 again in 1967 with 3747 yards, while missing tying his TD record that year by just one TD pass. Still he’d set another NFL record with 508 pass attempts. All this was more amazing in the fact that he accomplished all of these feats during the notorious ‘dead ball era’. Sonny also shared the Redskins’ deep hatred for the Dallas Cowboys and led the Redskins to Super Bowl VII. He’d retire after the 1974 season- at the age of 40. 

Amazingly enough it wasn’t until 1983 that Sonny was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In the meantime however the state of North Carolina has recognized him in a variety of capacities. Sonny briefly also did color commentary on TV and the radio. 

Sonny signed these two cards for me for a nominal fee. I really loved the Topps 1970, even though it was a reused press image from another card. His Crown Royale Living Legends card, really lends itself to being autographed. I like the design and look, and there’s plenty of space to be played with to put the autograph on. The image of Sonny going back to pass is an oft used illustration, but at any larger sizes I’m not really fond of it. There’s just something off about it. 

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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.

Ward Jr, Greg

Cards: Sage 2017, Topps AAF NOW 2019
Acquired: BB 2018, IP 2019, San Antonio Commanders v Salt Lake City Stallions

Greg Ward Jr is an intriguing multi-faceted athlete.  He played in college for the Houston Cougars from 2013-2016 at quarterback. Ward blossomed in 2016 throwing for 2827 yards (67.0% completions), 17 touchdowns to 6 interceptions. A force to be reckoned with on the ground, Ward rushed for 1114 yards on 197 carries and 21 touchdowns. In 2016 Ward increased his passing productivity going 319 of 469, while throwing for 3557 yards, and 22 TDs to 12 interceptions. He also rushed for 518 yards and 10 TDs on 197 carries. Greg was not selected in the 2017 NFL draft. Afterwards he’d sign with the Philadelphia Eagles and earned a spot on the practice squad as they converted him to wide receiver.

Greg was signed by the San Antonio Commanders shortly before camp began. I was very excited- as I knew he would be an impact play maker for the team. When the season rolled around I needed a new offensive player to follow, since my original one didn’t make the squad, so Greg became my new fan favorite.

Over the course of 8 games with SA, Ward played primarily out of the slot, but also saw time as a guy they just wanted to get the ball in the hands of- since he is so electric. He caught 22 passes for 214 yards and a 2 point conversion. Although a distant second in return yardage (135), Greg had the highest average (15.0) and the longest punt return for a TD in league history (79 yards) against Atlanta.

“I was really pleased when we got Greg and as I learned more about him, I was even more pleased. He’s a terrific athlete who can do a lot of things. He’s a versatile player and we’re really glad to have him.”

-Commanders Head Coach Mike Riley

I got this great Topps AAF Now card celebrating his punt return, and knew I had to get it autographed. I started figuring out the lay of the land autograph-wise after the SLC game. I was the last person on the wall who he autographed on the home side of the field before he went back. I had hoped to get some other really nice card signed by him, but the gatekeeper blocked me from getting anymore than one. I may at a future date attempt to get him again TTM. I also hope to get a custom Commanders jersey done of him at some point, but who knows if that pipe dream will ever come to pass.

After the league imploded Greg was signed by the Eagles again who appeared to be taking a second look at the now seasoned former QB speedster. He didn’t make final cuts in 2019, but the team elected to bring him back to the practice squad shortly afterwards.