Cards: Upper Deck 1991 Team MVP, ProSet 1989, ProSet 1989 Traded, Skybox 1992, GameDay 1992
Acquired: 2012, Canton Acquisition. 2016, Future Considerations.
See Also: Earnest Byner
After his stint as a coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars runningback coach from 2010 to 2011 Earnest Byner was signed to the Tampa Bay Buccaneer staff in 2012 serving under Greg Schiano. Unfortunately Shiano’s style didn’t mesh in the pros, and he was gone after two seasons. Byner was not retained as ownership decided to clean house after 2013.
Since that time Earnest has addressed ‘The Fumble’ in public, apologizing to fans for what happened, and giving a tear-jerking recollection of it during the 30 for 30 ESPN documentary “Believeland”. Time heals all wounds though and the vast majority of Browns fans really embrace Byner as one of their own without judgement. It goes without saying that it’s great that Byner has been able to move on from what happened- something that he said stuck with him and changed his playing style for the remainder of his career in the NFL.
Earnest has done a lot of motivational speaking too. He also has no problem engaging his fans in public and is very popular in Cleveland. My friend DeadHorse scored these Byner autographs for me along with Kevin Mack and Greg Pruitt at an Ohio based Cleveland Browns event they attended. DeadHorse was kind enough to accommodate me on the 3 cards which I felt were his best action shots of Byner (Skybox 1992, ProSet 1989 CLE, and GameDay 1992).
Card: ProSet 1989
Acquired: 2016, 34 Wine & Spirits Bottle Signing
See Also: Tony Dorsett
Tony Dorsett made an appearance in Austin at a local 34 Wine & Spirits to promote a vodka brand. Since Ricky Williams owns the 34 Wine & Spirits he was also in attendance and signing as well. Ricky, as usual was pretty conversation, but somewhere along the way the handlers didn’t get the memo. As me and Ricky started chatting, his handler tried to shoo me off, but Ricky in his usual nonchalant manner explained to the handler, that I was cool and I was with him.
When Tony appeared it was more of the same. I bought two bottles of the vodka so I could get his autograph on 2 cards, but the handlers announced that he’d only sign the bottles. After a few minutes of negotiation, the handlers then announced that he’d sign only one outside item. Regardless, Tony was in good spirits when I saw him. He signed the bottles and a card for me which worked out okay.
There are so many players that switched teams during the twilight of their careers who look out of place in their new team uniforms, but this 89 ProSet of Tony looks solid. His autograph still holds up, and he was kind enough to put an inscription on it as well.
Cards: ProSet 1989, Score 1989, Score 1991 MVP
Acquired: 2016, Future Considerations
See Also: Kevin Mack
Deadhorse comes through again for me. My Cleveland connection who gets a rare bone thrown to him from time to time set me up with a signing that included 3 great Browns backs: Earnest Byner, Mike Pruitt, and Kevin Mack.
Kevin has a lot of great nicknames because of his indelible last name. My friends and I used to call him ‘Mack Attack’ in Tecmo Bowl (circa 1987/8), but I’ve heard ‘Mack Truck’ and a few others because well, not only did he hit like a truck in Tecmo, he attacked the line in real life.
Former revered head coach Marty Schottenheimer has been quoted as saying about Mack:
“K Mack was a between the tackles runner who had power as well as good speed. He had that tremendous step of acceleration you have to have when he saw that little spot he had to run to or through.”
As of 2016, Kevin is the head of Cleveland Browns Alumni relations. He kicked the can for many years on returning to the sport in a coaching or front office capacity- inquiring with the Texans in 2000 about becoming a scout once the franchise took a foothold. Eventually he ended up returning to the Browns. Among the things that Mack laments is the glory days of the AFC South and the rivalries between the Steelers, Oilers, Browns, and Bengals. (I for one second that.)
Some really nice cards of Kevin here that I got signed the second time around. Each of them showcase Mack’s power and ability to lead with his massive shoulders. The ProSet 1989 is a marvelous action shot with just perfect framing, while his Score 91 is a solidly designed illustration. The Score 1989 is why Topps was caught so flat footed by both ProSet and Score’s entry into the card market. Not only did they use dynamic photography and action shots, the colors on the higher grade card just illuminated the canvas.