Card: ProSet 1991
Acquired: TTM 2010, C/o home
Sent: 10/16 Received: 11/1 (17 days)
Drafted in 1984 draft in the 6th round by the Detroit Lions out of Columbia, John Witkowski was an offensive juggernaut for the Ivy League school setting numerous passing and Ivy league records. John would make the final roster of the Lions that year passing for 210 yards on 34 attempts but wouldn’t make the roster in 1985. He’d remain on the radar of the NFL however, signing with the Houston Oilers in 1986 as a strike player backing up Brent Pease playing for the team through 1987 before heading back to the Lions for 1988. Witkowski in the meantime began pursuing a career in financial services and continued to remain in playing shape after 1988.
In 1991, the World League of American Football invited John to workout, and the London Monarchs liked him so much they drafted him in the league’s positional draft. He’d play in one season in the league and throw two touchdowns. A little known fact about Witkowski is that he was the starting quarterback for the Monarchs on opening day of 1991, but yielded the job to Stan Gelbaugh (who was picked up later by the Monarchs in the Supplemental Draft) during the first game of the season. John would play in a bit more garbage time, but he wouldn’t see anymore starting time for the team after that. Witkowski since retiring has continued to be involved in financial management and climbed the ranks into being an executive vice president for the Five Star Bank Corporation and has done quite well.
ProSet made this card along with 31 other player cards in 1991 to promote the league and its upcoming WLAF set. They took a gamble that the players that they selected for cards would perhaps be marquee players as well. This would be the only card that was made of John, but it’s a nice one, and would appear on the cover of the WLAF magazine available for purchase at the games. John would write me back, “Thanking me for bringing back some great memories and for taking the time to build this site.” What a nice guy. Below are his WLAF statistics.
G/Gs 10/1 Att 40 Comp 23 Yds 232 Pct 57.5% Td 2 Int 2 Rat 70.0
Cards: Proset 1991, Action Packed 1992.
Acquired: TTM Patriots Blitz 1992, C/o New England Patriots
Maurice Hurst was my ‘nickel back’ in Tecmo Super Bowl Special Edition III or whatever it was back on Super Nintendo. He was an easy pickup and a solid starter for me whenever he had to be put in the lineup in a pinch and would usually get around 3 interceptions a season. I’d send off for his autograph in a bulk mailing to the Patriots, during their disastrous late 80s and early 90s.
Maurice played for historically black college Southern University and was drafted in the 4th round of the amazingly deep 1989 draft by the New England Patriots. A fine rookie campaign netted him 5 interceptions and a touchdown, and he provided otherwise good coverage in an aged and beleaguered secondary doing a little bit of everything including kick and punt returning. He’d go on to average 3-4 picks roughly over the next few seasons.
Hurst was a gambling corner, and would have a career high 7 picks and two sacks in 1994, but the fact he played in New England during the darker days of the franchise overshadowed an otherwise ProBowl campaign. Burned twice in week 10 of 1995, Hurst was ignominiously cut and subsequently retired. In 2009 he was nominated to the Patriots 50th anniversary team and is currently ranked third on the team’s all time interception list.
As of 2010, he is president of Olympic Commerical and Residential Construction LLC assisting the city of New Orleans in its rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Katrina, and working in the residential and private sectors.
Games 105 Tac 365 Sac 3 FF 4
Int 27 Yds 263 Avg 9.7 Td 1
Cards: Pro Set 1991, Action Packed Rookies 1991, Star Pics 1991.
Acquired: TTM 1993, In Person, Houston Oilers training camp 1994.
See Also: Lewis, Darryll (2)
On my birthday in 1993 I received Darryll’s autograph in the mail. It was a really nice treat. The next year at Oiler training camp in San Antonio he gave me his autograph on a card. I’d swear he was as tall as me.
The 1990 Jim Thorpe Award winner did not go until the second round as the defensive back class was considered weak that year and Lewis was also thought to be undersized. The Oilers, who had long been burned the previous 2 seasons on defense drafted Lewis, Michael Dumas, and Steve Jackson in the 1991 draft. In the end this draft provided a bevvy of defensive backfield ballhawk talent, including Eric Turner, Aeneas Williams, Todd Scott, Henry Jones, along with Darryll. It was Lewis who would form with holdover Cris Dishman and become a devastating duo at cornerback. Lewis made up for his height disadvantage with pure speed and his leaping skill. By 1994, he also became known for soft hands and a nose for the ball at the critical moment, notching at least 4 picks in 6 straight seasons.
Lewis would play for the Oilers, Chargers, and Broncos briefly over a 10 year career making the Pro Bowl in 1996. Unfortunately Lewis’ post NFL life has been marred by personal problems. After resigning from Oregon State as a DB assistant coach, he has had run ins with the law including a tragic car chase caught on tape in 2005, where meth was found in his vehicle. He pleaded guilty to the charges in 2006 and was sentenced to 32 months in prison. He currently he lives in the San Diego area.
Games 142 Tac 404 Sac 5 FF 0 Int 32 Yds 555 Lg 98T TD 5