Card: ProSet 1990
Acquired: In Person 1992, Philadelphia Eagles Traning Camp
The Co-Captain of Penn State’s 1982 championship run, Ron Heller was an offensive tackle at drafted in the bottom of the 4th round of the NFL draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 1984 was a good draft and Heller was a fine specimen at 6’6″, 290. A highly intelligent lineman with a good motor, Heller was both a competent pass and run blocker. Starting immediately out of the gate, Ron would be named to numerous All-Rookie teams at the end of 1984. Playing in obscurity for 4 seasons for the Bucs, Heller would be traded (in 1988) to the Seahawks who in turn traded him to the Philadelphia Eagles, where he’d block for Pro Bowl quarterback Randall Cunningham. Ron would become the first Eagles offensive lineman named offensive MVP of the team in 1989. I’d get his autograph at training camp in 1992, before he signed with the Dolphins to block for Dan Marino in 1993. He never missed a beat, starting immediately, and fit right in with the team for 3 seasons. A brutal knee injury would end his career after the 1995 season, but Ron would move on to coaching. He’d finish his playing career playing in 172 games, starting 166 of them.
In 2004, Heller served as an assistant in NFLE on the Amsterdam Admirals. He’d expand on these jobs as an offensive line coach in 2006 and 2007 would allow him to be an offensive coordinator, before the league’s untimely folding. Ron then joined the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL in 2009 for one season, and then returned to the NFL as an offensive staff assistant for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2010.
Cards: Action Packed 1991, Score Supplemental 1992
Acquired: Patriots Blitz 1992
Speedy defensive back Jerome Henderson was taken out of Syracuse in the 2nd round of the 1991 draft by the New England Patriots. He would provide valuable depth for the team also acting as a punt returner that initial season. Things looked good for Henderson who made 5 picks, 2 fumbles, 101 tackles and 201 punt return yards over two seasons, but by 1993 he was already playing for the Buffalo Bills, where he’d remain through 1994. In 1995 Henderson would sign with the Eagles, where he recovered one fumble and returned it for a touchdown, before he returned to the Patriots in 1996. 1997 would see him step up to a new challenge as he moved into the free safety position for the New York Jets, where he’d finish his career after 2 more additional seasons in 1998. At last check Henderson is the defensive backs coach for the Cleveland Browns. It’s interesting looking at the certainly journeyman like career of Henderson and where he has been as he has spent his whole college career and pro career within a 500 mile radius of New York City with 5 teams and 6 stops.
G/Gs 98/33 Tac 205 Sac 1 Fum Int 9 Yds 118 Avg 10.9 Td 0 Lg 45
Card: Topps Finest 2004
Acquired: Purchase, Beckett.com 2010
A tweener, (6’3″, 260lb,) Jason Babin was drafted in the first round of the 2004 draft by the Houston Texans from Western Michigan to play defensive end and linebacker in the Texans 3-4 front. (The pick came at some fanfare and a major cost. The Texans had to trade back into the first round and paid a king’s ransom to divisional rival Tennessee to get him.) He’d start all 16 games his rookie season, with 63 tackles, 4 pass defensed and 4 sacks, but in 2005 the team decided to make him a situational rusher, so he’d start less, and also play less with 12 games and 4 starts. Babin would pull in another 4 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. In 2006 he’d have 5 sacks, but with a new head coach and general manager who had no ties to him- Jason would see himself traded to the Seattle Seahawks for Michael Boulware in 2007. He’d then become a journeyman from there, playing for the Seahawks, Chiefs and Eagles over the next 3 seasons almost seeing himself out of the league.
In 2010 he signed with the Titans and has rejuvenated his career scoring a career high 12.5 sacks (6th in the NFL). After the Titans beat the Texans in a fairly meaningless game in week 15- the team let him come onto the field to kneel the ball to end the game. Of note, Babin is recognizable for an assortment of tatoos that cover his arms. I bought his card on the cheap off of Beckett when I was attempting to get the autographs of all the Texans’ first round draft choices.
G 82/42 Tac 230 Sac 30 Fum 4 Int 0 Yds -.- Avg -.- Td 0 Lg -.-