Tag Archives: philadelphia eagles

Gaffney, Jabar

Card: SPX 2002 Rated Rookies (229/650)
Acquired: 2017, EBay
Failure: 2011, C/o The Washington Redskins

Jabar Gaffney was a talent who left it all on the field for the Florida Gators back in 2000 and 2001. In both years he had almost 1200 yards and over 10 TDs receiving.  He declared for the 2002 NFL draft and was selected at the top of round 2 by the Houston Texans expansion squad. It was expected that Gaffney would become young quarterback David Carr‘s preferred target as they’d grow together as an up and coming talent. Among receivers looking back, his selection was a fair one. He’d finish 2nd in total WR yardage in an otherwise lackluster class.

Jabar caught only 1 TD  his rookie season, in a week 6 snoozer against the Buffalo Bills. The following week he’d record his first and only professional TD throw against the Cleveland Browns. In total that rookie year, Jabar had 483 yards on 41 catches.  Later in 2004 Gaffney had his best season as a Texan with 632 yards on 41 receptions.  In 2005, the Texans experimented with utilizing Gaffney as more of an inline receiver. He’d make 55 receptions, but as David Carr regressed, so did the Texans record.  The entire team from the front office down was fired and a new regime was brought in.  Jabar was a free agent.

Gaffney found a home with the Philadelphia Eagles, but was a surprise cut before the beginning of the season.
He’d then sign with New England where he’d play for the Patriots over the next 3 seasons. In 2007 he’d have a career high 5 TD receptions.  Jabar then signed with the Denver Broncos in 2009. In two seasons with the franchise he’d post near career highs in receptions (54, 65) and yards (732, 875). He’d be headhunted by the Redskins for 2011, again posting career highs in receptions (68) and yards (947) and tied his career high with 5 TDs.  Jabar returned to the Patriots, but was cut shortly there after.  He later signed with the Dolphins, but ran into legal trouble.  Miami cut him and Gaffney was unable to resuscitate his career.

In 2016 he was arrested in Jacksonville for marijuana. Gaffney has attempted to remain low key otherwise, despite some run ins with the law.

G/Gs 158/103     Rec 447    Yds 5690    Avg 12.7    Td 24   Lg 69

LeBeau, Dick

Cards: TNT Signature Select, Topps 1971
Acquired: TTM 2017, C/o The Tennessee Titans
Sent: 1/19/17  Received: 1/27/17   (8 days)

To say that Dick LeBeau has a decorated football history would be an understatement. After playing both halfback and defensive back in college, LeBeau was moved to cornerback fulltime when he entered the NFL. Selected by the Cleveland Browns in 1959, LeBeau did not make the squad and was quickly snatched up by the Detroit Lions. The rest is history. The Lions already had an outstanding secondary. LeBeau was icing on the cake. He arguably became one of the best players in Detroit history (at least defensively) recording 62 interceptions for 762 yards and 3 TDs.  He earned 3 ProBowl trips from 1964-1966 and AP in 1964, 1965, and 1970.

Retiring from play after the 72 season, LeBeau immediately jumped into coaching, working as a special teams coach for the Eagles from 1973-1975.  From there he honed his skills as a positional coach with the defensive backs for the Packers (1976-1979) and Bengals (1980-1983). Dick was promoted to defensive coordinator for Cincinnati in 1984- a position he held until 1991.  In 1992 he joined the Steelers as a defensive backs coach, and in 1995 was elevated to defensive coordinator.  LeBeau returned to the Bengals in 1997 and was head coach for the franchise from 2000-2002.  After a brief stay on the Bills in 2003 LeBeau returned to the Steelers as their defensive coordinator from 2004-2014, and then off to the Tennessee Titans as their coordinator where he coaches to this day (2017).  LeBeau was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Pride of the Lions in 2010.

Dick LeBeau is one of the most reliable high profile TTM signers in the hobby today. I think I had taken it for granted for a long time, but I finally decided to take a shot at him in 2017. Part of the reason for my delay was the lack of decent cards of him. Frankly most of the cards that were on the market were quite bad looking, or were just plain expensive. LeBeau’s turnaround was quite quick signing this old beat up Topps card and my custom in about a week flat.

G/GS  N/a    Tac N/a         Sac N/a          Fum N/a
Int   62       Yds   762          Avg  12.2      TD  3     Lg   70t

Patterson, Melvin

Cards: Ultimate WLAF 1992, Wild Card WLAF 1992
Acquired: TTM 2017, C/o Home
Sent:  5/11           Received:  5/22   (11 days)

Melvin Patterson was quite the find. Since his time in the WLAF he’s tread a very unique life.  After a lot of cross referencing his football card to a variety of other sources I found an old post on the web imploring users of the designer drug Kratom to contact Patterson at the DEA. After a few months of soul searching, I decided to reach out to Melvin. It had taken me sometime because I was intimidated to be calling the D-E-A. Furthermore, what would his reaction be? Finally, for me it breaks a long standing rule and tradition of TTM requests to never contact the player directly. Mail is direct enough, but by phone- that is a higher level of communication and it could be construed as something alarming. Nonetheless, I went ahead nervously and gave it a shot.

Initially it was a rough call. I could read easily that Patterson’s tone was skeptical, but after stumbling through formalities and explaining the purpose of my call, my link to him through the WLAF, and how it had positively impacted my life, he opened up to me and we had a long and interesting conversation about the league. It was really enlightening for me, as most of my discussions with former players usually is through snail mail, and I could get knee jerk, honest answers immediately about Melvin’s time playing for the league from him. I also was able to reassure him of my purpose by being able to discuss these things at length with him, especially the infamous ‘Hail Storm Game’ that occurred between Ohio and San Antonio.  He shared with me that the game held significant importance for him as both his mother (who frowned upon him playing football because she was afraid he’d get hurt) and his future wife were in attendance at the game.

Melvin also shared with me the background behind his 99 yard TD grab against the Knights- the longest in league history.  Apparently they had tried the same play on the previous down, and it hadn’t worked. While in the huddle, Melvin was chirping in QB Pat O’Hara‘s ear about how open he had been for most of the game.  They decided to attempt the same play again, but flip it. O’Hara went back to pass and Melvin found the seam between the corner and the safety and before he knew it, the ball was in his hands. He split the defensive backs and stepped on the gas to take the ball to pay dirt.  Patterson also reminded me of the SFA connection and that many players including Patrick Action Jackson and Todd Hammel had made their ways through the WLAF. He was very curious in how his teammates and college players had been doing.  Melvin said he’d even put in a good word for me if I could track down Todd.   Like many players, he agreed that the NFL gave up on the WLAF (and its other incarnations) too soon, as we rattled off the lineage of players that went on to greater glory or have become coaches in their own right, thanks in part to time honing their skills in the league. In addition he told me he had been assigned to the Austin field office for a few years during his tenure at the DEA, and this was quite a charge to me, just reinforcing what a small world it is.

In 1987, Melvin led SFA with 31 receptions for 472 yards and 2 TDs. Melvin signed with the Dallas Cowboys as a Free Agent in 1988 and the Atlanta Falcons in 1989.

He joined the WLAF in 1991 as a 5th round pick of the Birmingham Fire.  Based on archival information, it appears that Melvin was a member of the Raleigh-Durham Skyhawks at the end of 1991, finishing with 4 catches for 126 yards and a 72 yard long.  Patterson was signed by the Eagles and allocated back to the WLAF for 1992. He was selected by the Ohio Glory in the supplemental player draft.

To say that the Glory suffered an identity crisis on offense is an understatement. Not only was there problems at quarterback, the coaches argued over the philosophical offensive strength of the team. Still, Melvin managed to haul in 21 receptions for 395 yards and 2 TDs as a long bomb threat.  I’m sure that his mom shuddered every time the defense forced a punt,  as Melvin was the team’s primary returner with 25 returns for 173 yards.

These are some great cards of Melvin.  The photography for the Ultimate set was uneven, but with this action shot of Melvin was pretty solid. Even though he doesn’t have the ball, the photo is at the right distance and the framing is just right to make this shot stand out from the ordinary. The second image from the Wild Card set is a nice one. You can feel the ball hitting Patterson in the bread basket. I wasn’t the biggest fan of their design however.  I thought the stamp logo and the bright numbers down the side really took away from the main composition of the card.

Melvin has pretty much been a career man in DEA since football and is nearing retirement.  He wrote me a really nice note with the autographs he sent back to me and said that he gets requests every once in a while from fans for autographs.  Of note, Melvin’s gaudy receiving average of 20.8 ranks 4th in league history.

WLAF    REC  25    YDS  521    AVG  20.8     TD  2      LG 99T
PR  25      YDS 173     AVG  6.9       TD 0