Tag Archives: press pass 1997

Westbrook, Bryant

Cards:  University of Texas Upper Deck 2011, UT UD 2011 All-Time Alumni, Press Pass 1997
Acquired: TTM 2016, C/o Work
Sent:  11/14  Received: 11/26  (12 days)

A feared and hard hitting cornerback with sizzling speed who played at the University of Texas from 1993-1996, Bryant Westbrook is one of the more lauded members of DBU. He earned SWC Honors second-team All-American his senior year, in addition to first-team selections in both the last year of the Southwest Conference, and the first year of the Big 12. He finished his career at UT with 9 interceptions, 30 passed defensed, 6 forced fumbles, 183 tackles, and 2 blocked kicks.

With the hype train in full swing Westbrook’s draft stock spiked up the charts. He was selected with the 6th pick overall by the Detroit Lions in the 1997 NFL Draft, as the second DB off the board.

Bryant had a pretty solid rookie year. He deflected 20 passes- as QBs tested him early and often in his career. Nonetheless he intercepted his first pass from Dan Marino and returned it 62 yards for a TD that year. Bryant landed on the All-Rookie Team at the conclusion of the season.
During 1998, he posted another 19 pass deflections, 3 interceptions, and an 34 yard pick six of Trent Dilfer (TB).  Westbrook suffered a bumpy 1999 as the nicks and tears piled up. He’d be shelved after 8 contests.

Westbrook returned with a vengeance, as he posted his best season as a pro in 2000. Named as a Pro Bowl alternate, he started 13 games and recorded 6 interceptions for 126 yards including a door-blowing 101 yard pick off and score courtesy of Drew Bledsoe of the Patriots.
Disappointingly he’d miss the last 3 games of the season due to a ruptured Achillies.

It was tough for Bryant, because the next season was a contract year, so he had to get back to the game.  He managed to play in 9 contests in 2001 and recorded an interception, but due to his injury, it was obvious that he had lost a step.

Bryant signed as a free agent with the Dallas Cowboys in 2002.  He’d start the opening contest against the Houston Texans, but the Texans had studied the film and knew that Bryant was a liability. He’d be picked on consistently when he was in the lineup in the Texans’ upset 19-10 victory.  The Cowboys quickly cut him and Westbrook joined the Green Bay Packers and made a pick before the end of the season.  The team hoped to convert him to safety in 2003, but he ruptured his other Achillies- effectively bringing his career to an end.

No regrets for Westbrook however, as he’s giving back to the game by coaching (as of 2017) High School football in Arizona. He signed these 4 cards in no time flat for me.

Come on Upper Deck. You could of done better. The 2011 base card is terrible. Rule number one of something you are going to create in a graphics program for production- never ever noticeably stretch an image. I mean the top of Bryant’s helmet makes him look like he’s got a modified Gazoo on. His All-Time Alumni and NCAA All American cards are the same picture. Really? I looked no further than the Press Pass 97 below it to find a differing action shot of Westbrook. The Press Pass card is a bit kitsch, but I do like the die cut action on it.  In the end I liked Westbrook’s larger than life autograph on his Upper Deck All Time Alumni card the best.

G/GS  71/55      TAC  197      SAC 0      FUM 1
INT  13       YDS 239       AVG 18.3      TD 3       LG 101T

Barber, Tiki

pp97 barberCards: PressPass ’97, Playoff Contenders 2004
Acquired: In Person 5/19, 610 Houston Fan Fest 2013

Tiki is the black sheep of the New York Giants family. It seems that the job of the media and the fanbase is to judge players for the decisions that they make on and off the field. So when a promising player decides to retire and then is sharply critical of his former franchise, there may be a bit more vitriol aimed at him when he fails. Barber retired suddenly from the Giants after breaking 10,000 yards and becoming the franchise’s all-time leading rusher. He then joined the morning show “Today” and was critical of both his teammates and his coaches. Soon thereafter his contract was not renewed after he was caught cheating on his wife. While there is no such thing as an infidelity clause, Barber drew negative attention to himself which may have had an influence on their overall decision. Barber then decided that he wanted to return to football, but no team, other than the the UFL Las Vegas Locos were willing to touch him, and Tiki wasn’t interested in going there. He has remained in retirement, making occasional public appearances, writing books, and also has appeared as a celebrity judge and commentator on TV and radio.
poff04 barberTiki was a prolific runningback coming out of college in 1997 from the University of Virginia. He’d be drafted in the second round of the draft, as a 3rd down scat back compliment to now aging Rodney Hampton.

While his first two seasons were spent coming off the bench for the Gaints, his ascension to the #1 spot was probably hastened by the retirement of  Hampton after an injury plagued ’97. Barber was not expected to do much other than be a 3rd down option, – at 5’10”, 205, scouts and coaches just didn’t think he had the frame to take an every down pounding, so Tiki set out to prove them wrong.

It was in 2000 that Barber turned the corner, raking in over a thousand yards rushing and a career high 719 yards receiving leading the Giants back to the Super Bowl only to lose to the smothering Baltimore Ravens defense. Still Tiki was content and after an underwhelming 2001, Barber put together 5 straight seasons of 1200+ yards rushing.

tiki barberIn 2006, Barber suddenly retired, after kicking the tires on it all season. A frustrating year didn’t help matters either, and there we have it. Barber’s accolades include being a 3 time AP, the Giants All Time leading rusher, and a member of the Giants Ring of Honor. While the team has been accommodating to Tiki, many Giants fans have not forgotten his criticism. This has translated to his popularity, which seems mired in negativity based on his post retirement decisions. Still Tiki appears to not outwardly let it bother him, and was gracious and kind to all the fans in attendance at the Fan Fest this year and I was really happy to get him, considering his abysmal response rate TTM.

G/Gs 154/109   Rush 2217  Yds 10449  Avg 4.7  Td 55 Lg 95t |
Rec 586  Yds 5183  Avg 8.8  Td 12  Lg 87t  |
KR 27   Yds 544  Avg 20.1  Td 0  Lg 41
Pr 122   Yds 1181  Avg 9.7  Td 1  Lg 85t