Shawn Collins was actually a tight end at Northern Arizona where he set the school’s all-time career records for TDs (24) and catches (201). In 1986, he posted 70 catches for 1,016 yards- a school, single season record, and then followed up with 61 receptions in 1987, and 54 in 1988. Scouts decided that Shawn was best suited to play wide receiver before the 1989 draft. He’d be selected near the back end of round one by the Atlanta Falcons.
Shawn had an outstanding rookie season for the Falcons. He led all rookie receivers with 58 catches, and set rookie franchise records, leading the Falcons with 58 catches for 862 yards. An acrobatic receiver who is fearless in traffic, Collins’ 58 receptions were the most by any rookie during the 80s and 16 of his 58 grabs went for 20 yards or more. He’d be an unanimous 1989 NFL All-Rookie selection.
With a sea change at head coach in Jerry Glanville, the Falcons were expected to be very aggressive at WR, but after landing in Jerry’s doghouse, Shawn’s numbers suffered and he finished with 34 catches for 503 yards and 2 TDs in 90, and just 3 catches for 37 yards in 91. He joined Browns in 1992 and caught 3 more passes for Cleveland. Shawn joined the Bucs in 1993, but did not make the roster. He’d later sign with the Packers and was on their roster for 4 additional games.
Shawn then made a comeback with the Frankfurt Galaxy of the newly retooled World League, catching 18 passes for 215 yards and a TD. Returning stateside, he immediately joined the CFL where he played for the Memphis Mad Dogs and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 1995, posting 29 passes for 536 yards and 2TDs. Shawn played one final year in the Arena Football League for the Iowa Barnstormers catching 5 passes for 52 yards.
Shawn does not sign through the mail at all. I had spied out a signing through Sportscollectors.net at a really fair price, and waited for the event to pop. I was not disappointed and jumped at the chance to have him sign these 5 cards.
Thomas Sanders was one of those rare Central Texas/ hill country kids who made it big to the NFL during the 80s. Although he toiled behind mamoths such as Walter Peyton and Neal Anderson during his time with the Bears, surviving numerous challenges to his spot on the roster, he managed to put in 5 seasons with Chicago, and then tacked on 2 more with the Eagles for good measure, at the end of his career.
Thomas played for the Texas Aggies from 1980- 1984. He had his best season in his Senior year of ’84, posting 167 carries for 738 yards and a TD, to go along with 16 caches for 89 yards. Sanders parlayed his performance into a 9th round pick of the Chicago Bears in 1985. The Bears, who were never short on RB help, decided to use Thomas as a kick returner, while he occasionally moonlighted at RB. He’d win the Super Bowl in his rookie season and be a part of the Super Bowl Shuffle squad. He started his only game of his career with the Bears in 1986, and finish the season with 27 carries for 224 yards and 5 TDs. Although he’d not see such gaudy yards per carry for the remainder of his career (8.3), Thomas had a career high 95 carries for 332 yards and 9 receptions in 1988. In 1989, Thomas scored his only TD on a kick return from 96 yards out.
Sanders joined the Eagles in 1990 after a short stint with the Chargers. He’d be an injury replacement for Robert Drummond. Thomas continued to churn up dependable yards for the Eagles, actually starting 3 games in 1991. Thomas retired after the season and now lives in Texas.
Sanders got really lucky and had some nice cards produced despite his limited playtime. The ProSet is a spectacular card, but when I pulled the Action Packed 1989 card of him, I knew I had to write him.
Wow! What a rare grab in former USFL and Skins receiver Ricky Sanders! I had most fondly remembered him of course as a member of the Smurfs or the Fun Bunch as he and the WR corps of the Redskins were called at the time. There was also his heroics in Super Bowl XXIII and also in the Tecmo Bowl series where he was elusive and electric as well. Ricky also had some great cards along the way, and I hoped eventually one day I’d get them signed.
A local sports star hailing from Belton, Tx- a straight shot up I-35 halfway between Austin and Waco, Ricky Sanders played collegially at SW Texas State. The Bobcats were located out of San Marcos, Tx- halfway between Austin and San Antonio on I-35. At 5’11”, 182, hailing from a tiny school, Ricky stood ZERO chance of getting on the NFL’s radar, but lucky for Sanders, the USFL was waiting.
He’d sign with the Houston Gamblers in 1984. With a Run N Shoot offense with Jim Kelly at QB, Ricky had an incredible year in his rookie season, posting 101 catches for 1378 yards and 11 TDs, including a career long 77 yard TD. After the USFL folded in 1986, Ricky found himself a home with the Washington Redskins. With the Redskins, he’d pair up with Art Monk and Gary Clark to form one of the most devastating trios in the NFL. Ricky posted back to back 1,000 yard seasons in 1988 and 1989, and scored a career high 12 TD catches as well in 88. Sanders played with the Redskins through 1993, and concluded his career on in 1995 with the Atlanta Falcons.
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.