Tag Archives: sage 2011

Jean, Lestar ‘Star’

Cards: Sage 2011 Houston Rookies Dual Auto, Sage 2011
Acquired: 2017, EBay

Lestar Jean had an upwards ticking career while at Florida Atlantic. The wide receiver increased his production in every year while playing at the college. In 2010, his Senior season, Jean had 64 receptions for 988 yards and 8 touchdowns. He finished his 4 years at FAU with 146 receptions for 1992 yards and 15 TDs.  Considered still pretty raw, scouts loved his build, size, and his explosiveness. They felt he was a sneaky developmental prospect for the pro level. After not being drafted, he’d sign with the Houston Texans as a free agent.

He’d lose his entire rookie season to a shoulder injury, but after a strong preseason in 2012, he entered the season as the 4th wide receiver on the roster after an impressive preseason. During a 31-25 win over Denver, he’d make a 46 yard grab- displaying his big play potential. Although he tore his Meniscus on the catch he returned later in the season, rocking a 54 yard bomb for his first professional TD in a 24-10 shellacking of division rival Tennessee.  In the meantime he’d bide his time on special teams.

Things came apart for the Houston Texans in 2013. They’d go from rags to riches, both in record and quarterback play, as Matt Schaub and a bevvy of other quarterbacks struggled in his place.  Did Jean just not get the ball? Did coaches have enough of him hearing footsteps and dropping passes? Regardless, the Texans opted not to tender him after the season after only recording 4 receptions for 35 yards on the season.

Lestar would go on the free agent tour, trying out for the Dolphins and Panthers, eventually signing with the Vikings.  He’d be placed on IR and released with an injury settlement in 2014 before even taking the field for Minnesota.  Lestar rehabbed from injury and was part of the NFL’s first NFL Veteran Combine. Teams kicked the tires on Jean but did not sign him. He’d throw his hat in with the new MLFB (selected by Team Florida), but when a major investor backed out, the well intentioned league was left adrift.  He was later assigned to the Orlando Predators of the Arena Football League in 2016 but did not take the field for the squad.

I remember when I played football, my coach came up to me on a few occasions after practice. He’d say to me, “I can’t tell what’s up with you. Some days you look like prime rib out there. Other days you look like a butt steak…” I feel like I found my pro equivalent in Lestar Jean.

Yates, TJ (2)

Cards:  Sage HIT 2011, Sage 2011 Duo Autograph, Playoff 2011, Sage 2011
Acquired: 2017, EBay
See Also: TJ Yates

Reliable Matt Schaub took the majority of the snaps in 2012, with the Texans posting a 12-4 record, losing in the playoffs during the Divisional Round to the Patriots. TJ Yates rode the bench as the primary backup to Matt, and just threw 10 passes that year.

Things were business as usual riding into 2013, but after winning their first two games, the wheels just fell off the Texans wagon, primarily due to quarterback play. Teams either figured Schaub out, or his lins franc injury was worse than anybody thought.  The Texans cycled through Schaub to Yates and then finally to Case Keenum. TJ saw action in 3 games going 15 of 22 for 113 yards and 2 interceptions.  It was a surprising fall for the once mighty team as the Texans slumped to 2-14. After the season ended, the team cleared house releasing Gary Kubiak‘s coaching staff and hiring Bill O’Brien in his place for 2014.

With BO’B the Texans opted to go with a ‘multiple’ offensive set. While the team liked Yates, they traded him to the Atlanta Falcons for LB Akeem Dent. He’d get a little playing time in behind Matt Ryan going 3 of 4 for 64 yards and an interception, but be on the street the following season. That’s when fate intervened again.

It was October and the phone rang. On the other end of the line was a familiar voice. It was Rick Smith, GM of the Texans, and he wanted TJ Yates to come back to play QB for the Texans again.  You see, the Texans were just passing the buck on their quarterback issues. After trading veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick to the Jets, Brian Hoyer was the man of the hour in 2015. Backing him up was screwball Ryan Mallett.  The problem was, Hoyer was oft injured, and they already knew what a basket case they had in Mallett, so the Texans needed to shore up their QB play badly.

The Texans in the meantime were middling. Going into the bye week they were 3-5, and facing a familiar opponent in Week 10: The Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals were undefeated going into the Sunday night game, and all the ESPN ‘gurus’ selected them to win, so for the Texans to pull this one off, they’d need divine intervention or… TJ Yates.

True to form Hoyer got a concussion during the contest. TJ Yates trotted onto the field with 3 weeks study under his belt, shook off the rust like it was December 11th, 2010 all over again, and led the Texans to victory.  He’d throw a TD strike in the 4th quarter to DeAndre Hopkins to seal the win 10-6.  After the game, players gushed about Yates. Ironman left tackle Duane Brown said to Yates, “Let your legend grow,” and JJ Watt quipped that, “Everytime we play in this stadium we should have TJ start.”  TJ turned things around for the Texans winning the next game against the Jets, but during his 3rd game against the Colts, tore his ACL scrambling out of the pocket. His season was over.  Yates finished 28/57 for 370 yards, with 3 TDs to 1 pick.

In 2016, TJ signed with the Miami Dolphins suiting up for 6 games, but did not see any playing time. He continued his mercenary QB for hire act, and signed with the Buffalo Bills, where he was expected to vie for playing time behind starter Tyrod Taylor competing against rookie Nathan Peterman for 2017. He’d be cut with an injury settlement, but as fate would have it, TJ had another stint in him- with the Houston Texans.

The wheels fell off the Texans bandwagon early. Tom Savage, while solid in relief of Brock Osweiler, turned out not to be the answer in 2017. It was rookie QB Deshaun Watson who lit the league on fire, but a freak ACL tear in practice ended his season around the mid-point. The Texans signed Yates to back up Savage.  – It was shades of 2013 all over again…

After Tom Savage suffered a brutal hit during the San Fransisco game that gave him a concussion, TJ was forced into service again. Although he did not lead the team to a win, he threw 2 TDs during the contest.  TJ started the remainder of the season for the Texans, but there was no magic bullet this time for the team, as injuries had destroyed any hope for the team making a comeback some time ago.

Williams, Aaron (3)

Cards: Sage 2011, Upper Deck 2011, Score 2011, Playoff Contenders 2011, Playoff Threads 2011, Panini UT 2015, PressPass 2011,
Acquired: IP, Aaron Williams Lone Star Showcase 2015, UT Coop Celebration 2016.
See Also: Aaron Williams, Aaron Williams (2)

Making a habit of grabbing a few Aaron Williams autographs
when I see he’s around.  While there seems to be an almost endless supply of cards, I’m still finding quite a few nice ones here and there especially this surprising Sage 2012 entry.  The
Playoff Contenders was a late find and a really nice card.  I appreciate the reflective areas on the card.  Even though Upper Deck seems to be taking a beating recently, I do appreciate the 1991
throwback entry they did of Williams. The Press Pass card left much to be desired however.    When I showed Aaron his Panini 2015 UT card at the Coop, he stopped to show Fozzy Whittaker how it looked. I knew he wanted one but unfortunately I did not have an extra.  Shawn luckily had one to give him.

I really liked the Lone Star Showcase. Williams crew ran a tight ship and the kids really appreciated the camp, event, and how it was run. Aaron started the LSC because he felt that if he just had the guidance and help earlier, he could’ve been a better player and teammate. In a sense this is his way of giving back. After the event, the best kids were given trophies.  It was a really hot event, but it was worth it. Outside of the autographs, the highlight of the event was the DB WR drills and watching these kids go up one on one on each other. I really wish something like this had existed when I was a kid as there was no shortage of NFL talent on the field willing to help, teach, and encourage these youngsters. Aaron continues to be highly active in Central Texas hosting events, and making charitable radio appearances.

 Aaron really blossomed into the heart and soul of the Buffalo defense. His knowledge and understanding of Rex Ryan’s defense was unparalleled. The strong safety was leaned heavily upon in the system, and as neck and concussion issues have impacted his playing time- it has had an adverse effect on the Bills defense as well. He’s been limited to 10 games over the last two seasons, posting 22 tackles, an interception, 8 passes defensed, and a fumble recovery for a TD. In March of 2017, Aaron Williams was released by the Buffalo Bills. He’s weighing his options as he hopes to continue his career elsewhere.