Tag Archives: proset 1989

Smith, Billy Ray

CARDS: ProSet 1989, Score 1989, Fleer 1990, SkyBox 1992
ACQUIRED: TTM 2020, C/o Home
SENT: 5/16 RECEIVED: 5/26 (10 Days)

Coming from excellent bloodlines (his father Billy Ray Smith Sr played from 1957-1970), Billy Ray Smith Jr was the San Diego Chargers #1 pick in 1983 after an outstanding college career, where he finished second in Lombardi Award voting in both 1981 and 1982. A two time All-American at Arkansas, he started 48 games over his college career, posting 195 unassisted tackles, 63 tackles for loss, 8 fumble recoveries, 13 pass breakups and a pick. A fearsome and instinctual linebacker, Billy Ray Smith quickly established himself as the defensive play caller for the Chargers defense.

In 1985 Billy was voted the team’s most valuable player on defense, from his inside linebacker position. He moved outside in 1986, and immediately paid dividends, notching 11 sacks and again earned the praise of his teammates, earning the team’s defensive MVP award. Billy completed the trifecta in 1987 leading the team in tackles for the second consecutive year and pulling down 5 picks. Over his first 5 seasons with the franchise, Billy finished first or second in tackles on the Chargers defense. He also was named defensive player of the week by the NFL twice in his career. Most notable was a game in 1991 against the Saints, Billy Ray forced and recovered a fumble, intercepted a pass and had two pass breakups, to power the Chargers to a 24-21 win. All in all, Billy Ray Smith had a very solid and productive NFL career, playing 9 seasons for the Chargers retiring after the 92 season.

Smith was inducted into the University of Arkansas HoF in 97, earning both All Decade (80s) Honors and All Century Honors from the Razorbacks.

One of the kindest players in the TTM business, Billy Ray Smith went out of his way to sign these 5 cards for me and write me a personal response, thanking me and praising me for sending him one of his best letters.

I am always blown away by when a player takes the time to respond personally to my requests, and this one was no different. Billy Ray Smith was a pretty solid player and I always thought his omission from the game was a big slight, so I had no problem creating him and having him go one on one inside with big backs and taking them down.

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73126.51415996.6021

Collins, Shawn

Cards: Gameday 1992, Proset 1989, Action Packed 1990, Topps 1990, Fleer 1990
Acquired: 50/50 Consignment- Sportscollectors.net, 2020

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.

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Sanders, Thomas

Cards: ProSet 1989, Action Packed 1989
Acquired: TTM 2020, C/o Home
Sent: 6/16 Received: 6/25 (9 days)

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.

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90/432112393.91275T
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