Tag Archives: pittsburgh steelers

Dafney, Bernard “Big Daf” (1968-2006)

Card: StarPics 1992
Acquired: In Person, Houston Oilers Training Camp 1992

Bernard “Big Daf” Dafney was a popular player at the University of Tennesee- scoring a touchdown on a trick play (‘fumblerooskie’) against Mississippi State where he gallopped for 32 yards. A verified man-mountain who had the physical size to translate to the next level (6’5″, 325), Dafney played in the Senior Bowl in 1992 before being drafted by the Houston Oilers in the 9th round. The Houston Oilers had an imposing and established offensive line and while Bernard played well in training camp, he wasn’t able to crack the lineup and was cut after training camp. He’d be signed by the Vikings, and remained with the team from 1992 through the 1994 season before continuing his journeyman career playing for the Cardinals, Steelers and Ravens and Panthers, before retiring in 1997. Bernard would take what he learned and apply it to coaching starting at the high school level, where he had a passion for teaching and learning seeing some time with two local campuses- before he was sadly struck down by a heart attack in 2006.

Harrison, Nolan

Card: GameDay 1992
Acquired: In Person, Dallas Cowboys Training Camp 1993

Indiana University is not really known as a hotbed of football talent- but the Raiders took a chance on Nolan Harrison in the 6th round of the 1991 draft as a possible replacement for star defensive end Howie Long or Greg Townsend. In the meantime the Raiders would utilize him also at defensive tackle, until 1994 when he’d get a career high 5 sacks at left defensive end. Nolan would sign with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1997, and play there through 1999 making 7.5 sacks and then close out his career with the Washington Redskins in 2000. As a player, Nolan’s strength would be his high motor and flexibility along the defensive line providing invaluable depth for 10 seasons.

Since retiring Harrison has remained extremely active in NFLPA activities, serving on a variety of boards, financial management, and being a motivational speaker. In 2010, Nolan was named Senior Director of Former Player Affairs and he and former Raider Dave Pear have also squared off on disability and retirement benefits over the last few months.

On top of the possible 2011 NFL strike, there’s actually another party involved in the labor dispute that must not be ignored- those retired players that paved the way for the rest of the league’s success. Many former players who did not live on the ballooned million dollar contracts and on a pittance of severance sacrificed their bodies for our entertainment and now their pain and problems are largely ignored by the league. While Nolan has made some contact with Dave Pear- it remains to be seen whether or not our former greats are treated with the respect they deserve.  You can follow Nolan on twitter at: http://twitter.com/NolanHarrison74.

G/Gs  128/83      Tac 199      Sac 22.0     Fum 5      Int 0     Yds 0     Avg  -.-      Td 0      Lg 0

Horton, Ray

Cards: Fleer 1990, Score 1990
Acquired: In Person 1990, 1993, Dallas Cowboys Training Camp.

So it all technically began with Ray Horton on that Fleer 1990 card. He was the first autograph I got in Dallas Cowboys training camp way back in 1990.  It was happy times back then, and I grabbed every card and my black sharpie before I headed out the door that morning with Josh. We’d ride the bus back and forth from North Austin or have our mothers drop us off for what turned into an all day affair. We quickly established where the best place was to get autographs- (the second fence line as the street narrowed to get onto the field) and would camp the spot to grab signatures. I think on the first day I got 7 autographs on cards and I had a hard time sleeping because I was so excited to go back the next to see who I could get. I never thought that almost 20 years later I’d pick up the hobby again and enjoy it just as much.

Ray Horton was drafted out of Washington, where he played alongside Cowboy Vince Albritton. Horton would be taken in the second round by the Cincinatti Bengals, where he’d play in SuperBowl XXIII for the Bengals, before leaving the team in Plan B for the Dallas Cowboys in 1989. Ray’s rookie season was solid in 1983, with 5 interceptions, 121 yards and a touchdown -which would be his career high. He’d record 13 interceptions with the Bengals and in 1989 would sign with Jimmy Johnson‘s woeful Cowboy team, providing solid depth and a bright spot in the secondary pulling down 6 more interceptions and then retiring after the 1992 season and ten seasons winning SuperBowl XXVII.  A nose for the endzone, Horton would have four touchdowns via interceptions and one from a fumble.

Since retiring Horton has moved right into coaching picking up almost right where he left off. He’s made stops with the Lions, Redskins, Bengals, and Steelers where he added two more rings in SuperBowl XL and XLIII. In 2011, he was named the defensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals.

G/Gs 147/ 99      Tac N/a      Sac 3      Fum  5     Int  19     Yds 269     Avg 14.16     Td 4      Lg  65T