Tag Archives: San Diego Chargers

Harbaugh, Jim ‘Captain Comeback’

Cards: Fleer 1990, GameDay 1992
Acquired:  TTM, C/o Stanford University, 2010.
Sent: 2/3   Received: 8/13  (210 days)

Jim Harbaugh was drafted from the University of Michigan in the first round of the 1987 draft by the Chicago Bears, – 5 years after taking incredibly popular Jim McMahon. The Bears had a long history up to this point of being a vaunted ground attack with Walter Peyton and later Neal Anderson. Over the team’s history, (as of 2009) the Bears had only 1 quarterback repeat as a 3,000 yard passer.

Harbaugh rode the bench for the Bears through 1989, when McMahon was traded to the San Diego Chargers.  Jim claimed the starting role but still had to look over his shoulder with Mike Tomczak backing him up.  Jim in 1991 threw for 3121 yards (2nd in team history). In 1994, Harbaugh was traded to the Colts, after finishing second on the career yardage list for the Chicago Bears.

Jim led an improbable Colts team back from the dead, into the playoffs and one game away from the Superbowl, knocking out the heavily favored Pittsburgh Steelers. During the 1995 season Harbaugh would have perhaps his finest moment leading the NFL in passer rating, being named AFC player of the year, NFL Comeback Player of the Year, and finished second in the NFL MVP race.  By 1997, the Colts fell back down to the Earth, and Harbaugh again would find himself traded, this time to the Baltimore Ravens.  He’d sign with the Chargers in 1999, but by 2000 he was splitting time with Ryan Leaf. Harbaugh then suited up briefly with the Lions and Panthers before retiring.

In retrospect over Jim’s playing career, he was a cannon armed quarterback who had to learn the minutia of the NFL game. He was a formidable rusher finishing with 2700 yards, a 5.0 average, and 18 touchdowns over his career. Jim was rough around the edges and was prone to force the ball, especially early in his career, but once surrounded with the right talent and placed in the right offense to hone his skills and check down targets properly, Harbaugh briefly became one of the most dangerous quarterbacks of his era.

Jim Harbaugh had been planning all along to go into coaching. From 1994-2001 while he was still in the NFL, Harbaugh was working as an offensive consultant and scout for Western Kentucky University. He then hopped over to the Raiders  for two seasons, and by 2004 was head coach of the University of San Diego.  In 2005 Harbaugh was named to the Indianapolis Colts Ring of Honor where he was dubbed ‘Captain Comeback’ by the Colts faithful during his playing days there. By 2007 he was head coach at Stanford University defeating rival USC in the what is considered to be the greatest upset in college football history (43 point favorite) and in 2009 hung a record 55 points on them, where the Cardinals were named to their first bowl game since 2001.  Jim also has pursued a variety of hobbies, including his foundations and a variety of children’s hospitals. He is also co-owner of Panther Racing in the Indianapolis Racing League. In 2011, he took over as head coach of the San Fransisco 49ers.

Jim Harbaugh gets the ironman award for the longest response, clicking in at 210 days. Nonetheless I was quite pleased to notch this former decorated Chicago Bear in my collection.

GS 140   Att  3918   Comp 2305  Pct 58.8
Yds 26288    Td  129     Int 117    Rat 77.6

Bennett, Fred

Card: Score 2007
Acquired: Texans blitz 2009

After Bennett was a two time SEC choice, Fred was drafted in the 4th round of the 2007 draft as a compliment to former Gamecock Dunta Robinson. (Robinson was going to mentor him up to the speed of the NFL game.) Unfortunately Fred Bennett got thrown into the fire when Robinson went down with a season ending knee injury in week 9 that season.

Bennett responded surprisingly well, making 55 tackles, 3 interceptions and 14 passes defensed.  Bennett would then start an additional 6 games for Robinson in 2008 (before Dunta returned) grabbing 2 more interceptions and 6 defenses. Questionably, Bennett from other accounts fell into the team doghouse and had to dig himself out by the end of the season, and started only 3 games in 2009, as a new secondary coach was brought in. Caught in a numbers game, Bennett was cut by the Texans in 2010 and was signed by the San Diego Chargers within days.

Walker, Wayne

Card: Topps 1990
Acquired: In Person 1992, San Antonio Riders v Ohio Glory
Failure: TTM 2010, C/o Home

Fleet wide receiver Wayne Walker was a free agent pick up from Texas Tech by the San Diego Chargers in 1989. At only 5-8, 162, Walker was nicknamed “bug” by his teammates. He hauled in 24 receptions for 395 yards and a touchdown his rookie season. Wayne’s yards per catch were a strong 16.5 average and he’d put in some time returning punts as well.

In 1992 Wayne would resurface with the San Antonio Riders of the WLAF. He would finish #3 on the team in receptions (26) and yards (294), which was pretty decent considering the team was a ground based offense. In 1997 Wayne would sign with the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena League where he’d play for 3 seasons grabbing 84 receptions for 1307 yards and 19 touchdowns. He’d double as a backup return man as well for them during this period and then retire outside of Waco.

I’d get Wayne’s autograph after the infamous game between the Riders and Glory where a hailstorm came up and we all hid underneath the bleachers for half an hour. I recently came across a Wild Card WLAF card of him for the Riders and sent it to him in Waco hoping to get his autograph in 2010 but have not heard back from him. Following are his stats from his WLAF year with the Riders:

Games 10   Rec 26    Yds  294     Avg 11.4         Td 1      Lg 26