Card: ProSet 1991 WLAF Insert
Acquired: 2018, EBay
Failure: TTM 2014, C/o Home
Ben Bennett was a prolific quarterback for the Duke Blue Devils finishing as one of the top passers in NCAA history, throwing for 9614 yards on 820 completions (1375 attempts) and 55 TDs from 1980 to 1983.
Selected in the 6th round of the 1984 NFL draft by the Atlanta Falcons, but ended up playing in the USFL for the Jacksonville Bulls. Bennett then bounced around camps for the Falcons, Oilers, Cowboys, and Bears, eventually seeing a little action playing for the Bengals in ’87. He’d join the Arena Football league playing for the Chicago Bruisers in 1988 and 1989, leading the team to the championship in the latter season. After playing for the Dallas Texans in 1990, he was selected by the Sacramento Surge of the WLAF during the first round of the positional draft.
Ben was expected to be the starter for the Surge, but he’d be supplanted by former KC Chiefs 2nd round pick, Mike Elkins- who took all the snaps after the first game. Bennett returned to the Arena Football League later that year with the Orlando Predators. Ben at this point became a star for the young league. He’d play for Orlando through 1995, before taking one season pitstops with both the San Jose SabreCats and the Portland Forest Dragons. Ben is known in Arena lore for the ‘Miracle Minute’ in which he engineered a 16 point comeback in under 1 minute. Ben was inducted into the Arena Football Hall of Fame in 2000.
Outside of his impressive Arena Football resume, Ben has been involved as coach for the Milwaukee Mustangs (1998), Greensboro Prowlers (2000), Florida Bobcats (2001), Florida Firecats (2002-2004), Manchester Wolves (2005-2007), Austin Wranglers (2008), Orlando Fantasy LFL (2010), the New Orleans Voodoo (2011), and the Orlando Predators (2012).
I had previously tried to get Ben way back in 2011, but had no luck. Since then, I’ve seen no successes or addresses for him that I could use, so I went ahead and just picked this autograph up off of EBay after verifying its integrity.
Cards: Proset 1989, Score 1990
Acquired: TTM 2010, C/o (Army Black Knights [Westpoint])
Sent: 4/3 Received: 5/7 (34 days)
In 1984 the long suffering Houston Oilers franchise drafted linebacker Robert Lyles out of TCU in the 5th round of the common draft. Over 20 linebackers were taken before undersized Lyles came off the board, including fellow linebackers Johnny Meads and John Grimsley. The Oilers aggressively were trying to address their defensive issues, and spent a whopping 10 choices on defense in the draft on that side of the ball. Lyles would be tutored at OLB by new defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville, and by 1985, the speedy linebacker secured the starting job despite being considered undersized for the job (6″-1′, 226). Over that time Lyles would display soft hands and strong coverage ability recording an interception or fumble in 6 straight seasons and in 1989 he’d record a career high 4 picks. A tough nosed player, the media could always count on Robert to fire the team up or have a quotable line. It was during the Oilers’ rise back to the playoffs, where Robert Lyles playing on special teams laid out an opposing player on the turf in furious fashion. The player laid on the turf motionless and Lyles was quoted as saying, “Welcome to the House of Pain!” The name stuck and the Oilers kept it as part of their way of intimidating opponents and playing mind games with them. Jerry Glanville over this period would climb into the head coaching seat of the Houston Oilers franchise, but at the end of the 1989 season resigned under fire after losing early in the playoffs to the Pittsburgh Steelers. With a new head coach in place, and a new defensive system being used (4-3), Lyles would be released by the team, but would quickly be retained by the Jerry Glanville and the Atlanta Falcons, where Robert would finish his career after the 1991 season.
After Robert’s departure from the NFL, he took up coaching and by 1994 was in the Arena Football League coaching with both the Tampa Bay Storm and the Memphis Pharaohs for a year a piece as a positional coach. In 1996, he became the Portland Forest Dragons’ defensive coordinator- a job Lyles would hold for two seasons until he’d take up the same job with the Los Angeles Avengers in 1999. He’d serve as interim head coach for 11 games in 2001, guiding the team to a 5-6 record. The team would respond by leading the AFL in variety of defensive categories. He’d then be named head coach of the Georgia Force, and then later defensive coordinator of the Grand Rapids Rampage for 2004 and 2005. Lyles would join the Black Knights staff in 2007 and has moved up to linebackers coach, where he has brought an intense and aggressive style to the double eagle flex style defense.
G/Gs 109/100 Tac N/a Sac 10 Fum 8 Int 10 Yds 111 Avg 11.1 Td 0 lg 48