Tag Archives: playoff contenders 2001

Williams, Ricky “Little Earl” (3)

adr11 rwilliamspoff01 rwilliamssco09 R williamsSP99 R Williams
Cards: Score 2009, Upper Deck 2006, SP 1999, Adrenalyn 2009, Playoff Contenders 2001, Power Deck 2006.
Acquired: 2/6/13, IP Legends Luncheon, 11/17/13 – GMC Texas Tour.
See Also: Ricky WilliamsRicky Williams (2)

Just when I thought I was going to write a post about how I’m running out of things to say about Ricky, he has a luncheon where he agrees to do an honest question and answer session with all the fans in the lunchroom audience. He discussed his foundation work (Ricky Williams Foundation), and a wide range of topics covering his life growing up as a latchkey kid. Ricky was very forthcoming about his travels, and that he had actually contemplated retirement as early as his second year in the NFL. Ultimately Williams made the decision in his last season in Baltimore to retire, after a brief conversation with Bill Parcells.

Ricky enjoyed playing the game because it was a game to him. It was fun. He talked about the growing problem of players confusing sportsmanship with competitiveness.  Williams also talked about how he was even keel when the team won or when the team lost. He really just didn’t let it get to him, and this made him sometimes
appear weird to his teammates.

UD09  R williamsWhen I got up to him he signed all three of my cards. At this point, he recognizes me when I come up, and I gave him his Starting Lineup figure as a humorous gift- which I think he got a kick out of. I asked him jokingly if he had ever used the deer antler spray, and he very candidly told me his answer… He clarified that the greater issue is that at some point we are talking about substances that people put in their body, much of it naturally that is already used or ingested in other cultures. He really didn’t tell me firmly if it worked, however Ricky pointed out the greatest problem that the NFL faces in drug testing is the use of HGH (Human Growth Hormone), and that the problem is rampant, since the league’s testing isn’t able to completely sniff it out.

ud98pd rwilliamsRicky lives in Austin and I pretty much stop whatever I am doing to go to his events. I heard about this event on 1300 The Zone (The Longhorn Station), about a week before and decided to take a crack at the event. I had previously met Ricky on two other occasions, and he had signed a total of 4 cards between the events for me. Still there seems to be a never ending supply of cards or items I’d love to get the former Heisman winner to sign for my collection including these gems. I very much enjoy his refreshing, incredibly intelligent, and unique view on the world and always look forward to the events he speaks at. If there was ever a player that I’d refer to as a shaman, I’d pretty much put Ricky in that category.

rickyagainIn November, Ricky once again appeared, this time at the GMC Texas Tour. I stocked up on autograph vouchers and then camped out in line. After asserting my spot as the first person in line over poachers who hovered near the gate or put their gear down and walked off, I waited patiently for Ricky to arrive. Williams had signed to work with Coach Larry Kennan at Incarnate Word out of San Antonio as a runningback coach, and he came in wearing their colors. As the only fan that recognized him, Ricky thought he was going to get away with his stunt, but I caught him when he walked by. When they finally opened up the queue for autographs we were limited to just one per person, so I walked up and got my autograph and just talked to Ricky about his experience at IW.  It was a rough start when I asked him to sign with the bronze colored marker, but because his face frowned, I immediately backpedaled and said that I’d be happy with whatever marker he’d like. His face lit up then when we talked about the WLAF and Kennan’s days with the Monarchs, but before you knew it, a handler came over and shooed me off. I then told Ricky I’d return and when I got to the front of the line, he’d know he had gone through the whole line at least once. I waited patiently and returned to the front. The pretty line keeper  (who comped me a Roy Williams autographed photo) helped me pass the time for a few minutes, and before I knew it, I was back at the table talking to Ricky. He enjoyed talking to me so much, he volunteered and literally grabbed my cards and signed all the extras I had with me before I left the table. He told me about Kennan’s coaching style and we joked about what the “Hook ‘Em” sign would be for Incarnate Word.

tnt13g  rwilliamsAgain, like Priest Holmes, I created a custom card for Ricky based on the ‘Long Tom’ design of the GameDay cards more recently of the 90s. I was really happy with the results, but continue to struggle with the paper thickness as 20lb is not a universal weight. Still the ink absorbed well into the card and it does look legitimate enough that he did take pause to look impressively at it.

At the time of Ricky’s retirement he was the 26th member of the 10,000 yard club. While occasional rumblings talk about inducting him into the Pro Football HoF, his legacy will need to be redefined elsewhere, as old timers will look at Ricky’s rampant disregard of NFL policies as blemishes on his career. Also with guys like Ottis Anderson (slightly more yards and an MVP honor) still waiting in line, Williams getting in would be seen as a major coup. In the meantime Ricky is finding a new life in football coaching runningbacks for Incarnate Word and dabbling in recruiting.

Biakabutuka, Tshimanga “Tim”

poff96 biakabutukaCards: Playoff Contenders 2001, Press Pass 1996
Acquired: TTM 2013, C/o Home
Sent: 10/14    Received: 10/23   (9 days)

Tim’s name was etched into the Michigan Wolverine’s record books after he rushed for 313 yards on 37 carries, destroying the Buckeyes singlehandedly during the 1996 season. He set school marks for rushing in a single season with 1,818 yards. After his incredible Junior season he declared for the NFL draft.  Biakabutuka finished his career at Michigan with 2,810 yards on 472 carries, and 24 touchdowns- despite fighting Michigan star Tyrone Wheatley for playing time.

The Carolina Panthers had been searching for an identity at runningback since their inception the previous year in 1995. With the 8th overall pick that year Carolina took Biakabutuka, two slots after Lawrence Phillips. Tim then quickly became the team’s first extended holdout, but eventually signed a 4 year deal where he was immediately crowned the unquestioned starter at runningbackpoff01 biakabutuka. His rookie season did not turn out as well as he expected, as after 4 games Tim blew out his knee and was out the rest of the season. In the meantime Anthony Johnson ran for over a thousand yards in his stead and took over the starting role in 1996. Tim quickly got buried on the depth chart behind Fred Lane as the injuries limited Tshimanga to just 2 starts in 1997, and 3 starts in 1998. Biakabutuka’s best season came in 1999, as he ran for a career high 718 yards and 6 touchdowns. He’d follow up his breakthrough year with another 627 yards rushing, and a career high 341 yards on 34 receptions. Tim’s career came to a grizzly end in 2001 though, where in a game against the Redskins he ripped every ligament in his foot. The injury was so gruesome that doctors considered amputating his foot. He luckily survived without the amputation, but his career was over.  Despite never starting a full slate of games over his 6 seasons and 35 starts, Tim finished as the Panthers’ career leading rusher, (since surpassed). After retirement he has gone into business as a restaurant entrepreneur, primarily in North Carolina.

G/Gs  50/35      Rush 611   Yds  2530    Avg  4.1    Td 14      Lg  67    |
Rec  77    Yds  789     Avg 10.2   Td 3    Lg 47

 

Green, Ahman

poff01 greenTNTUFL11 Green

Cards: Playoff Contenders 2001, Top Notch UFL 2011
Acquired: TTM 2013, C/o The Green Bay Packers
Sent: 5/3  Received: 8/29  (118 days)

Among the pantheon of runningbacks that the Green Bay Packers have had in their storied history with guys like Paul Hornug and Jim Taylor, Ahman Green sits atop the top spot for the franchise with a surprising 8,322 career rushing yards. A prolific runner for the franchise at the stroke of the millennium, Green’s career began playing ball for the Nebraska Cornhuskers in college ranks. A local kid, Ahman chose Nebraska over such suitors as Notre Dame in 1995 and immediately ran for a freshman record 1,086 yards en route to a National Championship. In his final crowning moment at the school, he led Nebraska to another championship as he tallied an Orange Bowl record 209 yards on the ground. He declared for the NFL draft soon thereafter, but not before etching 3,880 career rushing yards into the annuls of Cornhusker fame.

At 6’0″, 215, Ahman only managed somehow a 3rd round mark by the Seattle Seahawks. Who knows why he was taken so low? Plenty of guys came off the board before him including Curtis Enis and John Avery. Still Green was seldom relied on by the Seahawks early on who were still basking in the glow of the 3rd rebirth of Ricky Watters.  He’d bide his time with his elite speed returning kicks, until head coach Mike Holmgren drafted Shaun Alexander. With Alexander and Watters in camp, the Seahawks elected to trade Ahman to the Holmgren’s former team- the Green Bay Packers.

It’d be in Green Bay, in an offense led by Brett Favre and with incumbent Dorsey Levens ailing, Ahman got his chance to really be a shining member of a great supporting cast. He’d record his first of 5 consecutive 1,000+ yard rushing seasons on the frozen tundra of Lambeau. From 2001-2004 Green earned Pro Bowl honors, and in ’03 and ’04, had the NFLs longest carry of the season from 98 and 90 yards.  With injuries limiting his production in 2005 to only 5 games, Ahman recovered nicely for 2006 to run for 1059 yards in 14 games. He’d be left unprotected heading into 2007, and sign with the Houston Texans.

The signing was considered either the biggest risk or the biggest coup of free agency and the Texans rolled out the red carpet money to get Ahman.  Despite visiting with Denver, Ahman felt most comfortable moving to Houston and being reunited with his former head coach in GB, Mike Sherman, who was offensive coordinator. The Texans desperately got a home run hitter at runningback, as injuries had ended Dominack Davis’ promising career. Things never quite seemed to take off for Ahman in Houston. (Green kept a professional lid on it, but behind the scenes he had a bad relationship with GM Rick Smith who accused Ahman of goldbricking.) It didn’t help either that injury also limited him to a combined 6 games in his 2 year stint there.  He’d be cut after the 2008 season. Ahman still had the desire to play, returning to the Packers for one final hurrah in 2009.

In 2010 the UFL was injecting new talent into the league to fill seats. The Omaha Nighthawks were the newest team on the block and with Ahman being a hometown kid, he was really a slam dunk to help fill the stands alongside Jeff Garcia while he mentored Maurice Clarett. Ahman would run for 253 yards that season. While really never officially retiring, he hasn’t played a down since, last surfacing briefly with the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL. He has from time to time indicated that his fire still burns for the sport and still wants to play. Green used to suffer from hyperhidrosis- or overactive sweat glands. His propensity to over sweat was blamed on more than one occasion for his fumbling issues, to which he wore black elbow guards during his time in Green Bay to keep the sweat from getting the ball too wet. Ahman finished his career with 37 fumbles in 2506 combined touches (1/67).

As of 2013 Ahman Green is a part owner of the indoor football Green Bay Blizzard. He also has dabbled in broadcasting and appears regularly at Green Bay alumni events. Green is also an unabashed Batman fan and has been seen at a few comic conventions dressed up as the Dark Knight.

NFL   G/Gs  148/97     Rush  2056    Yds 9205     Avg 4.5    Td  60   Lg 98t   |
Rec 378  Yds 2883    Avg 7.6    Td 14   Lg 53  |
Kr  72    Yds 1634    Avg 22.7    Td 0    Lg 57

UFL  Rush 68    Yds 253   Avg 3.7   Td 0    Lg 27
Rec 8     Yds 50      Avg 6.3    Td 0   Lg  13