Kameron Kelly showed versatility playing at San Diego State over his college career, working in the defensive backfield at both safety and corner over his time there from 2014-2017. He had 164 total tackles, 8 tfl, 2 sacks, 15 pass deflections, and 9 interceptions for 122 yards.
He signed with the Cowboys in 2018, but was released before the season began. In October, Kameron was snatched up by the San Diego Fleet of the AAF. He was converted to WR by the Fleet, but then got transferred back to defensive back thanks to injuries. During Week 5 of the season, Kameron set an AAF record with 3 interceptions of Stallions QB Josh Woodrum. For his efforts Kelly earned Defensive Player of the Week Honors from the AAF. He finished the AAF 8 game season with 19 total tackles, and 4 interceptions for 22 yards and a TD.
After the AAF suspended operations, Kelly signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Kameron Kelly represents the first trifecta I’ve been able to achieve of an AAF player as I got his certified, base card, and Future Stars cards all signed. Now, I am completely baffled as to the difference in the autographs from the TTM versus the certified issues, but since he personalized it, I’m still pretty sure it’s him and Kelly has just changed his autograph. Maybe he signed it with his nickname? Who knows.
Kameron also probably got a good laugh out of the fact that he was born in Round Rock, Tx and I told him the traffic on I-35 is still terrible. Anyway I dashed this one out the door as soon as I heard he signed during the great AAF deluge after the Alliance collapsed in April of 2019.
Cards: Upper Deck 2009, Score 2010 Acquired: In Person 2018, AAF San Antonio Commanders Season Ticket Holders Party
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever expect to even come close to picking up one of the greatest modern day NFL safeties and Pittsburgh Steeler legends Troy Polamalu- but here we are. I mean again, like in the past, one of the greatest pieces of advice that I can give a fellow collector, is: When you go to in person events, plan ahead by bringing cards of who you know will be there- and who you think might be there.
The second piece of advice I can give you is do your research and participate in the discourse of knowledge about the subject you are interested in. In this case, I participated heavily on the AAF boards and was made aware of the fact that a bold tapestry of many former players line the league’s offices with experience and knowledge. I thought maybe, just maybe since this was a big event, that the league would send down one of the player personnel to the celebration. I packed a box of cards for the players, and the executives and made my way to the event.
When the event began, Troy was seated on stage with the players and executives. I immediately recognized him based on his flowing mane. – Sure who wouldn’t right? I slipped out some cards and calmly bode my time. After the event concluded I waited in the picture line and kindly asked him for an autograph or two. I think Troy was both surprised and impressed that somebody had some cards of him at the event. His eyes lit up briefly and he smiled as he signed. I exchanged pleasantries with him about the new league and how excited I was, and then wished him luck. I’m not much for photos or selfies. The autograph was enough for me to regale in memory about.
Over a 12 year career, Troy Polamalu established himself as one of the greatest strong safeties to ever play the game. Drafted in the first round of 2003 by the Pittsburgh Steelers out of USC, Troy was a headhunter in the secondary, who had a nose for the ball with 46 career takeaways (32 interceptions, 14 forced fumbles), and 770 combined tackles. Polamalu was named to the Pro Bowl 8 times, All-Pro in 4 seasons, NFL Defensive Player of the year (2010), and won two Super Bowl Championships. He’d also earn honors as a member of the Steelers All-Time Team, and the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team.
Troy retired after the 2014 season and decided to focus on his family. In 2018, he was named the head of player relations for the fledgling Alliance of American Football, however that folded during 2019.
Late in the AAF season, the league brought out Topps cards of Troy, but with these two signed, I’m happy to close the books right where they are without the executive card signed.
Card: Donruss Rookies & Stars 2013 Acquired: In Person 2018, AAF San Antonio Commanders Season Ticket Holders Party
I really had to scramble to find a Daryl Richardson card before I left for the season ticket holders party. Worried that the cards I ordered wouldn’t arrive in time, I went and dug through my card boxes twice before I left. I thought that I had at least one card of Daryl somewhere that had possibly been given to me by Spoodog. The night before I left I came across Daryl’s Rookies & Stars entry from 2013. It was a gem to start with.
Overall it was a good event. Players were easy to talk to- almost shy being approached, but Daryl handled the spotlight magnificently with his trademark dreads and wife and kid in tow. When I showed him this card he got really animated, and we talked about being new fathers for a bit. He then welcomed me to follow him on Twitter, where I quickly found out that another fellow collector was a big fan.
His Rookies & Stars entry is really nice. This set is a good departure from the terrible look of the 2012 set. If I had been a collector back then or this set was cheap enough, I’d probably try to plunk down enough change to pick it up. The foreground image of Richardson is strong. He looks heroic bursting from the canvas in front of the design. The background is smartly blurred, and although Daryl’s feet look cut off because they do not continue below the logos, it could still be considered a design decision.
My silver sharpie dried out and the backup I had with me also dried up. Final lessons learned on sharpies: Stick to blue if you have to use a basic sharpie. Silver, black and just about any other color react badly to humidity and after a while will dry out… And- always pack a second sharpie in case the first one is dead. I tested the sharpies before I went inside the covered stadium, but I guess the humidity sapped them up immediately. I ran off to the entry table where the girls running the event let me borrow the- brown one. It worked in a cinch, but I couldn’t get them to let me use blue or black.
Daryl was the second to last pick of the 2012 NFL Draft out of Abilene Christian. He’d beat out Isiah Pead in camp to become Steven Jackson‘s primary backup. A low to the ground, compact, elusive runner, Daryl ran for 475 yards his rookie year. He also displayed soft hands out of the backfield, catching 24 passes. Injuries slowed him his final two seasons in St Louis.
He’d be released in 2014 and sign with the Jets where he was on and off the practice squad of the franchise through 2015. The Texans signed Daryl next, and then later in 2015 the Browns signed and waived him as well. The next year he spent nearly the entire year with the Steelers on their practice squad. Claimed off of waivers by the Jaguars in 2016, Daryl was released by both the Jags and Colts in 2017.
With the advent of Spring football nearly upon the masses again in not only the XFL but the AAF, I decided to throw my hat in the ring with the San Antonio team when it was announced with the AAF. Richardson was one of my ‘big heart’ selections by the Commanders. He’s a ‘do it all’ kinda guy who fits what the team needs, especially in a 3rd down back. Unfortunately facing unusually stiff competition from Aaron Green, Trey Williams, Kenneth Farrow II, and David Cobb- left my fan favorite on the way out. Daryl was cut but hopefully his football dreams will continue with another shot elsewhere.
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.