Tag Archives: philadelphia eagles

White, Reggie ‘Minister of Defense’ (1961-2004)

Cards: Action Packed 1991, Action Packed 1992.
Acquired: TTM c/o The Green Bay Packers, 1994.

Reggie White is arguably one of the greatest defensive ends, and one of the best players to be imported to the NFL after the failure of the fledgling USFL.

After setting multiple records at Tennessee, White was drafted by the Memphis Showboats of the USFL in 1984. Playing in two seasons for the league he’d rack up almost 25 sacks and 200 tackles, before being signed by the Philadelphia Eagles, who held his draft rights. White grabbed defensive rookie of the year in 1985. As a cornerstone to the Eagles, Reggie sacked quarterbacks a mind-numbing 124 times with the Eagles, averaging more than a sack a game from his left defensive end position. In 1987 alone he’d rack up 21 sacks.  White was nicknamed ‘The Minister of Defense’ by his teammates, because of his ability to disrupt team’s offenses, and the fact that he was an ordained minister since the age of 17.

White was an important high profile name in a landmark lawsuit against the NFL, that would eventually allow for what is now known in the league as free agency. This allowed for a general rise in salaries and also inadvertently contributed to the concept of a salary cap.  In 1993, Reggie would become the first big name to switch teams from the Eagles to the Packers creating an immense amount of buzz. With Reggie also switching to the Pack this also shattered the notion that small market cities would not be able to compete with larger cities for marquee talent. The Packers played in two Super Bowls during his tenure there, and he notched 3 sacks in Super Bowl XXXI which still stands as a record today. Reggie retired briefly in 1998 but came back to play one final season in 2000 for the Carolina Panthers.

White’s career numbers and accolades are astounding: 198 sacks (2nd all time) , 1st team AP 10 times, All Decade Team of the 80’s and 90’s, and the NFL’s 75th Anniversary team.  He’d only have 3 seasons during his 15 year career where he’d have under 10 sacks, and finished with over 1000 tackles. Tragically Reggie White would pass away December 26th, 2004 of a cardiac arrhythmia in his sleep at the age of 43. Posthumously he was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2006 and his jersey was retired by the Packers, Eagles, and Volunteers.

It is said that near the end of his life, Reggie strayed away from Christianity and towards more Judaic religious beliefs, but this is not so. White was extremely interested and respectful of religious ideals, and remained a devout Christian, (and an outspoken, controversial one at that) to the day of his passing. He’d also lend a helping hand to many churches during the spate of Southern Black church burnings during the 1990s.

I seem to remember being surprised to get this autograph back from the Packers -and in under a month or two to boot. I like it when players inscribe the cards with a bible verse. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the most religious person, but it tells me a bit about their personality and who they are. Reggie signed his cards with Matt 3:3-16. Now This isn’t 3:3,16. It’s 3:3 through 16. That’s a hefty amount of scripture so I’ll just leave it at 3:3

“For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”

Games 232         Tac 1048       Sac  198       FF 33
Int  3     Yds 79       Avg  29.3      Td  0

Rypien, Mark

Cards: Score 1990, GameDay 1992
Acquired: In Person 1993, CGA Youth Golf Tournament

Mark Rypien gets less credit than he’s deserved. The first Canadian born quarterback to start in the NFL, Rypien was a traditional drop back passer with a cannon arm and a touch for the deep ball. Selected in the 6th round by the Washington Redskins in 1986 by Charlie Casserly, Rypien would sit on injured reserve for roughly two seasons, while Jay Schroeder and Super Bowl MVP Doug Williams slugged it out. When the dust settled Jay was in Los Angeles and Doug was ailing from back injuries.

Making the best of his limited starting assignment, Mark became the fulltime starter and was named to the ProBowl in both 1989 and 1991. In 1991 Mark led the Redskins to a victory in Super Bowl XXVI and was named the MVP after throwing for 292 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Plan B, free agency, and the salary cap, eventually took their toll on the Redskins. With the retirement of Joe Gibbs, the Redskins went through a transitional period and by 1994 the team was already looking in another direction for a quarterback and drafted Heath Shuler, essentially ending Mark’s tenure with the team. He’d then go on to become the true definition of a journeyman quarterback spending no more than 1 season at any location over the next 5 teams playing for the Rams, Browns, and Eagles. Signed by the Falcons in 1998 he retired briefly after the tragic passing of his son.  He’d emerge again 3 years later in 2001 with the Colts, and then be cut after playing briefly in the preaseason for the Seattle Seahawks in 2002.

In 2006 Mark would play briefly as a promotional appearance for the GLIFL for the Rochester Raiders and is an avid golfer and fan of NASCAR. After losing a son in 1998 to cancer, Rypien would establish the Mark Rypien Foundation, to which he devotes a significant amount of his time.

( www.markrypienfoundation.org )

I met Mark Rypien at the CGA Youth Golf Tournament in 1992. At the time I’d give players each a 13×19 drawing I did of them as thanks for their autograph. Mark was the first player who didn’t want his and I was confused by his ‘modesty’ but he was still nice enough to sign 2 cards for me.

Games 104      Att 1466     Comp 2613     Pct  56.1    Yds 18473
Td 115     Int 88

Fryar, Irving

Cards: Action Packed 1992, Proset 1990
Acquired: TTM 1991, 1992  C/o The New England Patriots


Irving Fryar was the first modern day wide receiver selected with the top pick of the NFL draft in 1984. (Keshawn Johnson would be the second drafted by the Jets in 2000.)  After an anonymous rookie season in 1984, Fryar led the Patriots to Super Bowl XX in 1985. -Unfortunately it would be against the vaunted Chicago Bears. (Fryar however scored the Patriots only touchdown of the game.) He’d notch a ProBowl nomination that year as the Patriots’ wr/kr, but the team slid back under the radar -and so did his statistics, with the team becoming a quarterback carousel. Being a #1 pick, it was hard for Irving to live up to the high expectations set before him in the early years, but the 1990s were kinder to him, as Fryar finally came into his own.

He’d leave the Patriots after the 1992 season and would play with the Dolphins (1993,1994,1995), Eagles (1996,1997,1998) and finally the Redskins (1999,2000).  Irving never really got the respect deserved to him as he’d notch ProBowl nominations in 1993, 1996 and 1997 going over 1000 yards 5 times after 1991. Fryar also earned his fair share of NFL records, and was a constant touchdown threat during his playing days. He holds an odd record of catching touchdowns from 19 different quarterbacks over his career, and was named to the Patriots 50th anniversary team.

After retiring from pro football in 2000, he became a man of God and a reverend for the New Jerusalem House of God. His son Londen, also played briefly for the New York Giants.

g 255     rec   851       yds 12785        avg  15.0          td 84        lg 80