Card: Sage Hit 2011 (203/250)
Acquired: 2016, EBay
Jeff Maehl was a standout receiver in Chip Kelly’s explosive offense while at Oregon. The former Duck scored 23 TDs on 178 receptions over his college career, averaging roughly 13 yards a catch. While Jeff was a standout at the combine on cone and shuffle drills, he clocked a pedestrian 4.62 40. Jeff went undrafted in the NFL, but was offered a contract with the UFL Virginia Destroyers. He opted to wait until the 2011 strike was over, and found a home with the Houston Texans as a member of the team’s practice squad where he’d remain on and off for the next season.
In 2013, Jeff was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles, reuniting him with former college head coach Chip Kelly. He saw limited time on the field recording 9 catches for 67 yards and a TD, as a pet project of the coaching staff who liked him over Riley Cooper. Maehl also saw time on special teams. Late in the season, Jeff sustained a concussion, which delayed his return to the field. He’d have another 5 catches in 2014, while he bode his time in the Eagles receiving corps. Oddly, in 2015 Jeff was cut with an undisclosed injury settlement.
G/GS 27/0 REC 9 YDS 113 AVG 12.6 TD 1 LG 37
Cards: SageHit 2011, Donruss Rookies & Stars 2011, Score 2011, SP Authentic 2011
Acquired: 2/26/14, Rudy’s Ribfest 4
Aaron had a difficult transition his first few years there in Buffalo, but you have to hand it to the Bills and Williams being patient with finding his role in the defensive system. After a change of head coaches and defensive coordinators, it looks like Aaron will be the team’s answer at strong safety. He started 14 games in 2013 and recorded 60 tackles, 4 interceptions, 11 passes defensed, and a forced fumble. After the Bills were unable to come to a long term arrangement with free safety Jarius Byrd, the team upped its contract with Aaron instead.
I had a grand plan for Ribfest this year in order to hit as many of the locations as I could. Well, other than the traffic working against me, so were the guests of honor at the event, and the Rudy’s staff. They were incredibly clueless of who was going to be at which location, and who exactly any player was. It was frustrating. Still I made my first stop at the Round Rock location and waited him out. He arrived in style in a dapper, white 4 door Porsche. Aaron really liked his Donruss Rookies & Stars card and paused to show his friend the card before he signed. I got him shortly after on these 4 cards. The 5th was his Topps debut card, but he claimed that the photo on the card was not of him. Chris Houston who was supposed to be there with him was a last minute scratch, so I bolted for the 183 location with little time to spare for Fozzy Whittaker and a mystery guest.
Card: Sage Hit 2011
Acquired: In Person 12/6/11, Whataburger Community Player of the Month
So I nailed down the Houston Texans #1 pick from 2011 along with Mario Williams at a freezing player of the month event at Whataburger in Sugarland. Despite the fact that I earned a migraine from the event and drove some 400 miles today round trip, it was totally worth it, even if this card was probably one of the worst I have seen in a while. SaGe 2011 lacks any logos of any sort, or even players in pads for that matter and marks a painful fall from grace for this product. Of course the day after I open a box of Score 2011 and find a JJ Watt rookie card among the set which far and above would’ve been better to autograph than this one.
JJ Watt played tight end at Central Michigan before transferring to Wisconsin in 2008. After redshirting for a season, Watt came into his own and won the Ronnie Lott award in 2010. His career totals at Wisconsin included 106 tackles, a whopping 36.5 TFL, 11.5 sacks, and 4 FF. Watt was pegged early on as being targed by the Houston Texans as their #1 pick. A sound fundamentalist with a motor that doesn’t quit, JJ was tabbed at #11 by the Texans after an impressive combine that saw him finish in the top 5 in every category for his position.
New defensive coordinator Wade Phillips had plans for the Texans. After shifting the team to a 3-4 defense, he’d add Watt, and move incumbent defensive end Mario Williams to outside linebacker. The move paid off and Watt became an immediate starter. With a near 6’6″, 290 frame JJ was a threat right out of the gate recording 5 tackles in his first contest against Indianapolis. He’d block his first field goal against the Dolphins in Week 2, and his first sack on Drew Brees (NO) in Week 3. In Week 12, JJ recorded a career high 7 tackles versus the Jaguars, and sacked Blaine Gabbert twice. As Watt’s 2011 season continues, it appears that the young rookie is already beginning to pay dividends on the selection with the Texans sitting amongst the top 5 in defense.