Tag Archives: russell maryland

Maryland, Russell (2)

Cards: Upper Deck 1991, Score Supplemental 1991, GameDay 1992, ProSet 1991, ProSet 1991 #1 Pick, ProSet 1992
Acquired: In Person 2020, Dallas Renegades v The Houston Roughnecks
See Also: Russell Maryland

So Russell was this Cowboy that I just got once or twice at Cowboys training camp as a kid and then that was it. The other players probably told him not to shell out too many autographs because we were there all the time (and they probably suspected us of selling them). Over the years I piled up some great cards of Russell. From his college ProSet card to his Gameday card, I had heard from time to time he did sign through a project that he was doing in Florida called Reading for Dragons or something like that, but didn’t want to take the chance of that being a bad lead, so I just held on to these cards. I never thought in my wildest imagination that 30 ish years later I’d get him at a Spring Football game in Dallas, but here we are!

The Cowboys pretty much jumped at the opportunity to embrace the XFL Renegades, loaning greats Everson Walls and Russell Maryland for the Renegades game against the Houston Roughnecks. As a Roughneck fan I was given a chance to attend the road game for free- so I seized upon the chance and drove to Dallas with these cards in tow. The Dallas front office put together a really nice pregame show. The Cowboys players did an interview and then afterwards signed autographs.

Russell was a really nice guy. He didn’t have any qualms with signing so many cards now. We chatted for a few minutes about those hot summers in Austin at training camp and how much fun he had. He was surprised that I knew about Reading for Dragons and told me that he only briefly did that and that the program was long gone. After signing Russell, with a wide and broad smile, pretty much surprisingly blended in with the crowd, so much so he got pulled aside when he entered the arena, to be wanded by arena staff.

Maryland, Russell

Cards: Action Packed Rookies 1991, Action Packed Rookies 1992, Pro Set 1991
Acquired: Dallas Cowboys Training Camp 1991, 1992, 1997

Russell Maryland while at the University of Miami had played for  Jimmy Johnson before he jumped to the NFL in 1989. Maryland would cement his status as the strongest defensive line prospect in the 1991 draft by winning the UPI Lineman of the Year award and the Outland Trophy in 1990. In that season he’d make 96 tackles and 10.5 sacks for the Hurricanes.

The Dallas Cowboys traded up in the draft in 1991 so that they could acquire Russell Maryland to play right defensive tackle with the #1 pick in 1991. In order to grab him the Cowboys traded starting middle linebacker Eugene Lockhart, defensive back Ron Francis, linebacker David Howard, their 2nd round pick and Minnesota’s first round pick (that Dallas had gotten in the previous season in exchange for Herschel Walker).

At 6’1″, 300, I was very confused by the fanfare that surrounded Maryland who while he improved the Cowboys defense to some degree and helped them win 3 SuperBowls, -failed to be an impact as a pass rusher or run stopper statistically. In fact his statistics ended up being somewhat pedestrian as he never had over 5 sacks or 60 tackles in 10 seasons. In retrospect, Maryland was a decent lineman, but certainly not worthy of the impact blue chip #1 slot typically reserved for draftees. In 1993 Russell would earn a Pro Bowl nomination after he made 56 tackles, 2.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles, but by 1994  he was already splitting time in a platoon with other defensive linemen and shifted to left defensive tackle which would further impact his numbers.

In 1996 Maryland would sign via free agency with the Oakland Raiders. He’d start 16 games 3 times over the next 4 seasons for the Raiders (- a feat he only accomplished once in 5 seasons for Dallas). He’d tie his career high in tackles in 1997, and sacks with 4.5.  I’d get Russell’s autograph at Dallas Cowboys Training Camp prior to that season as the Raiders visited on his Action Packed Rookies 1992 card. He’d play with the Raiders through 1999, then sign with the Green Bay Packers where he notched his first career safety and retire after the conclusion of the 2000 season.

G/Gp  154/140     Tac  375     Sac  24.5    Fum 9     Int  1    Yds  2    Avg  2.0   Td 0    Lg 2