Tag Archives: san jose sabrecats

Smith, Brett

Card: Sage 2014 (#178/250)
Acquired: 2016, Box Breaker

Okay, let’s forget about the shirt that Brett is wearing. It’s a one of a kind on a card though as I’ve never seen a curse word sneak through. Sage’s entry is not a pretty one here, but rarely are their photos ever exciting. It’s a pretty basic entry and not very risky. Kudos though for showcasing what matters: the certified autograph.  I didn’t really like the cards out of this set, but for what it matters, you can still find hobby boxes of this set at an extremely reasonable price (2017), fattening up your collection by 7-10 autographs in each box.

Brett Smith played for Wyoming from 2010-2013. Despite setting numerous records for the Cowboys including career offensive yards (10,390), passing TDs (76), career TDs (97), and most total yards passing in a game (640), he was not selected in the 2014 NFL Draft. He’d sign as a free agent with the Tampa Bay Bucs and later join the CFL as a member of the Toronto Argonauts, and then the Arena Football League with the San Jose SabreCats.

In 2015 Brett rejoined the CFL, signing with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He’d win the 3rd string job, but end up starting a fair amount of the season, after injuries hit the quarterback position. Smith finished with a respectable 15 TDs to 9 interceptions on the season. After the season he spent time on the rosters of the Redblacks (2016) and Eskimos (2017).  Currently he is a free agent.

Rutledge, Wondell

tntafl14 rutledgeCard: TNT AFL Talons 2014
Acquired: IP 2014, San Antonio Talons vs. New Orleans Voodoo

I walked up to Wondell on the field where he was chumming around with his friends. In an attempt to embarrass him with his card, I almost had it taken from me, as his mother went berserk when she saw it. As I explained to Wondell why I make these cards and how much I know it means to them as me, the card got passed further and further into the small crowd that had gathered. When she asked if she could keep it, Wondell explained to her, that he had plenty, since I gave him a stack of extras to keep. He excitedly signed my card and thanked me for my work.

Wondell has played for the Tampa Bay Storm, Orlando Predators, and San Jose Sabrecats, since joining the AFL in 2012. Well versed, Rutledge can handle playing on the defensive line, center and fullback- evidenced by his 32 yards on 22 carries and 3 touchdowns. Wondell helped replace Colton Jones at center after Jones went down with a season ending injury. Wondell played in 14 games for the Talons in 2014 signing with the Rio Grande Valley Sol of the X-League later that year.

Brown, James

utud11 brownCard: Upper Deck University of Texas 2011
Acquired: Spoodog Box Break, 2015
Failure: TTM 2011, C/o Home

James Brown is one of my favorite quarterbacks from my time growing up watching UT football.  I remember when one of the local news channels showed a high school highlight reel of Brown running down the sideline in Beaumont.  I knew he was the real deal. When he joined the Longhorns I remember sitting in my High School cafeteria telling my friends that James Brown was going to be the next big thing. It didn’t exactly start that way for James.

After redshirting in 1993, he battled encumbent quarterback Shea Morenz for the majority of 1994.  He’d solidify his starting role under head coach John Mackovic, with a comeback Sun Bowl win over North Carolina- ironically over future Texas head coach Mack Brown.  With the impending death of the SWC, Brown led the Longhorns to the final conference title and a 10-2 record in 1995.  As Texas joined the new and flashy Big 12 for 1996, they stumbled out of the gate early, but recovered in time to face defending National Champion Nebraska for the league championship. There would be his signature moment, in a stunning upset over Nebraska 30-27, with the infamous Roll Left play on 4th down, deep in their own territory.  Although Brown did not see the same success in an injury plagued Senior season, it did culminate with him being named MVP of the Blue Gray Senior Bowl.  James Brown paved the way for future black quarterbacks (Vince Young) to start at Texas, and at the time of his departure from the school held numerous passing records.

terminatorsBack then in 1997 there wasn’t really the farm system in place at Texas to get every prospect to the NFL level. It also didn’t help Brown that a tsunami of bad karma hit James in his final year at UT, along with the fact he was considered undersized to play the position (6’0″).

Keeping his football dreams alive,  James played a preseason in the CFL with the British Columbia Lions in 1998.  He’d then become the marquee player of the IPFL, playing for the Texas Terminators based in Austin during 1999.  The Terminators played at the Livestock and Rodeo arena at the edge of town, a non-air conditioned arena sarcastically known as ‘The Barn’.

james brownDuring the Terminators slaughter of the Colorado Crush that season, I caught one of the footballs as it bounced out of bounds. Afterwards I bought a James Brown jersey, that I still have along with the football till this day.  Brown earned Offensive Player of the Year Honors, as the team finished with the best record,  and played in the league championship.

ipflJames jumped at the opportunity to play for the Arena Football League the following year, joining the Nashville Kats.  He’d play with the team through 2001, and the preseason for the Georgia Force in 2002, and after a short stint in NFLE with the Scottish Claymores, returned to finish the season on the roster of the San Jose Sabrecats of the Arena Football League. The Georgia Force in 2003 resigned Brown again, but after only a few games, James went back to the NFLE to join the Claymores, but instead ended up on roster of the Frankfurt Galaxy. He played in the two-headed QB rotation with Quinn Gray, as the team won World Bowl IX. He played a third time with the Georgia Force in 2004 when he decided to hang up his cleets. James felt the urge to play again, and after the All American Football League folded before it even got off the ground, he played one final season for the CenTex Barracudas of the Intense Football League, guiding the team to the playoffs.

James has been a coach for a few years now, both at the high school and college level. He coached at Lamar University for a few years, and in 2014 became head coach at Sunnyside HS in Houston, Tx.

jersey brownI emailed James in 2011 at Lamar University to ask him if he could sign some memorabilia for me. A few months later he responded giving me his address and telling me to send it there. I gleefully put the cards in the mail, along with photos of his James Brown jersey, and an SASE. I never heard back from him again. A few months went by and I emailed him, but still never heard back. Recently I had a conversation with another collector who reported a similar result.  I was pretty disheartened.  Luckily at the card break that I had, one of my fellow collectors hit this card, so I pulled the trigger to make the trade and grab this card.