BJ Daniels has always been an intriguing dual threat quarterback prospect. Playing for the University of South Florida Daniels played for the college from 2008-2012. He took over the starting job for the team in 2009, passing for almost 2000 yards and 14 TDs while rushing for 772 yards and 9 TDs. He averaged 8.7 yards per completion that year. His best year came in 2011, when BJ threw for 2,604 yards and 13 TDs, while rushing for 601 and 6 TDs. Daniels was selected during the 7th round (237th pick) of the 2013 draft by the San Fransisco 49ers.
After being cut by the 49ers, Daniels was claimed by the Seattle Seahawks 2013. He’d spend time on and off their practice squad, and then moved to wide receiver by 2015. Cut again, the Houston Texans claimed Daniels and placed him on their practice squad. With the Texans having issues at QB due to injury, Daniels was able to get into a game near the end of the season in Wildcat situations. He’d run for 6 yards, and pass for 7.
In 2016, BJ was signed by the Giants, but later found himself on the roster of the Bears. He did not make the final cut. Late in 2016, BJ was claimed by the Falcons, who then tried to convert him to runningback. Again he’d find himself cut in 2017.
BJ decided to try his hand at Canadian Football in 2018, signing with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, but was cut.
He’d be assigned to the Orlando Apollos of the AAF, however BJ was selected in the second round of the AAF QB draft by the Salt Lake City Stallions. With a strong camp it looked like BJ might get the starting nod going into the regular season, but a freak injury during the preseason contest against Memphis ended his AAF season. He was 5/9 for 40 yards and a TD before the injury.
Daniels was placed on IR, and attended a few team away viewing parties for Stallions fans during the season.
Matt Millen comes from a long pedigree of great linebackers to come out of Penn State- and was an All-American in 1978. He was selected in the second round of the 1980 draft by the then Oakland Raiders. He’d go on to be the Raiders leading tackler in 1981, 1982, and 1988- earning a ProBowl nomination in the latter, and All-Pro Nominations in 1984 and 1985. Over this period Matt also won SuperBowls XV and XVIII. A vicious hitter, player, and run stopper, Matt was unceremoniously cut by the Raiders right before the 1989 season began. He’d be snatched up by the San Fransisco 49ers and go on to win another Super Bowl. Two seasons later he’d round out his career with a final Super Bowl win with the Washington Redskins.
Matt moved into the broadcast booth where he honed his skills and then later joined the Detroit Lions as their General Manager. While Matt’s tenure there was rightfully much maligned- he was also placed into a difficult rebuilding situation. A tireless worker, it is said that he essentially lived at the team’s complex working non-stop for the franchise. After being dismissed from his time with the Lions, Matt was offered a job with the Oakland Raiders but he declined, and has returned to broadcasting.
A few years ago I had shot a few cards out to Matt who was a very reliable and consistent signer. At about the same time another greedy collector sent out a request- that included 23 cards. Viewing the successes on sportscollectors.net it was incredibly frustrating to see this other person get their request completely filled- while mine never was.
When I heard that he was diagnosed with Amyloidosis- the same disease as Lions LB Mike Cofer– and that he needed a heart transplant, I thought I should send Matt another letter. I didn’t really expect anything back, and I had hoped that he’d find some small comfort in what I wrote. He was really struggling and needing a heart transplant. Six months or so later I heard he had a successful heart transplant and was already recovering from the surgery. Within a few days, I got back all 3 of these cards signed.
I was genuinely shocked, but it’s quite a credit to Matt that he’d bother to send these autographed cards back out to me and I will always treasure them a bit more than I will admit.
Card: ProSet 1991 Acquired: TTM 2018, C/o The New York Jets Sent: 10/1 Received: 12/31 (91 days)
Admittedly, it’s a bit grim when you get a player or coach’s autograph in the mail from them right after they get cut or fired. Case in point- Todd Bowles. He took over Gang Green after Rex Ryan was dismissed from the franchise in 2015. He posted a solid 10-6 record right out of the box that year, but the team did not make the playoffs. Over the next 3 seasons, the Jets failed to rally back into the AFC East race, finishing dead last each year with identical 5-11 records in 2016 and 2017, and a 4-12 mark in 2018.
The franchise hired a new GM and then couldn’t find a quarterback to hitch the team to until the 2018 season. In the meantime they constantly missed on draft choices or had a lack there of and in the 2018 season lost 6 games by less than a TD. Todd was released after the season, but not before he dropped this card in the mail – signing one of two for me. He was quickly snatched up by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for their open defensive coordinator position in 2019 reuniting him with Head Coach Bruce Arians.
Todd has a rich coaching history. Technically a disciple of the Al Groh coaching tree, Todd served at a variety of stops in college before hitting it big in the NFL with the Jets as a secondary coach in 2000. He served as a defensive coordinator and secondary coach in 1997 for Morehouse and in 1998 and 1999 in the same capacity for Grambing State. Bowles joined the Browns in 2001 and remained with the franchise through 2004, eventually becoming the franchise’s secondary coach. He then coached with the Cowboys under Bill Parcells from 2005-2007, again in the secondary, before working with the Dolphins in 2008, where he’d get a taste of head coaching in 2011 going 2-1 as the interim head coach. Todd spent a year with the Eagles, and then in 2013 was the defensive coordinator for the Cardinals, where he enjoyed the most success paired with head coach and offensive guru Bruce Arians. He earned AP Assistant Coach of the Year Honors before embarking on his whirlwind tour of New York.
Amazingly- Todd has a very long playing resume as well. Going undrafted out of Temple in 1986, he signed with the Redskins playing Free Safety with the franchise through 1990- earning one Super Bowl ring. Bowles hopped over the 49ers in 1991 spending one season with the team. He’d then return to the Redskins for two more seasons before heading into coaching.
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.