Sidney Rice made the best of it while he was playing for the Gamecocks of South Carolina. He rolled up 142 catches for 2233 yards and 23 touchdowns over the course of 2005 and 2006. Rice snapped school records in only two short years at Columbia, and declared for the 2007 NFL draft. He’d be selected in the second round by the Minnesota Vikings. Rice caught 31 passes for 396 yards and 4 TDs his rookie year over 13 games and 4 starts. After a poor showing in 2008 due to a lingering knee injury from 2007, Sidney made up for it in 2009, cashing in with a Pro Bowl season. He’d make the best of it catching passes from Brett Favre in his twilight, with 83 catches for 1312 yards, 8 TDs and a career long 63 yard catch.
After a hip injury wrecked his 2010 season, Sidney joined the Seattle Seahawks in 2011. His best season came with the franchise in 2012 when Rice posted 50 catches for 748 yards and 7 TDs. Notably it’d be the only time during his career that he’d start a full 16 game schedule. in 2013, Sidney blew out his ACL and was shelved the rest of the season, but not before he contributed to the Seahawks Super Bowl run. He’d return for 2014, but retired before the season began, citing concussion concerns.
Matt Leinart attended USC and played QB for the Trojans, winning the Heisman Trophy in 2004 and multiple awards during his college career. After taking over for Carson Palmer in 2003, Leinart won Associated Press National Championships in 2003 and 2004, and would’ve capped off his Senior year with another victory- if not for that pesky Texas Longhorns squad in the Rose Bowl. He’d finish as the Trojans all-time leading cumulative passer in many categories including completion percentage (64.8%) and TDs (99).
He’d be selected by the Arizona Cardinals with the 10th overall pick of the 2006 draft. Contentious negotiations caused a holdout, and as a result Kurt Warner stepped up as starter. Still Matt played well during his rookie season, setting a new benchmark for a rookie, in single-game passing yardage with 405 yards, against the Vikings. He’d start 11 games in the end, but sprain his shoulder to conclude his rookie year. The numbers weren’t bad for a rookie campaign, especially since it was the Cardinals. Matt had 2547 yards and 11 TDs to 12 interceptions. – This would actually represent a high mark statistically for his career.
Handed the starting QB job by new coach Ken Whisenhunt in 2007, Leinart broke his collarbone in early October- ending his season. He’d finish with 647 yards passing and 2 TDs in 5 starts. Warner took over as starter in 2008 as Matt rode the bench playing sporadically through 2009. He’d again regain the mantle as starter in 2010, but lose out in camp to Derek Anderson, and later be cut by the team.
The Houston Texans signed Matt as their backup to incumbent Matt Schaub, but he didn’t see any significant playing time. The Texans were having one of their finest seasons in 2011, but after Matt Schaub suffered a lins franc injury, Leinart stepped in as starter against the Jags. At first everybody waited with baited breath to see what Leinart would do, but he came out firing going 10 of 13 for 57 yards and a TD- before he broke his collarbone and yielding to the legend known as ‘TJ Yates’. Leinart again finished on IR for the season.
Cut by the Houston Texans in 2012, Matt played for the Raiders for one season- backing up former teammate Carson Palmer. He’d then be in camp briefly for the Bills in 2013, but after being cut, elected to retire.
I was not a great fan of Matt Leinart. After he played at USC, and then lost to the University of Texas in the Rose Bowl, he was I guess, caught off guard, and just said all the wrong things to the camera. It pretty much set up my dislike for him, as I felt he was trying to take something away from UT for beating the Trojans in the game.
It’s whatever. I think we’re the better football team. You know, they just made the plays in the end.
What I got out of it was, “The best team didn’t win today,” And unfortunately when you lose any game, you are not the best team on that given day- so I though the comment reeked of bad sportsmanship- especially when the best team is the one that always wins!
When he came to the Texans, I was initially not happy about the arrangement at all, but mellowed on him after listening to how he’d changed his life and abandoned his hard partying ways. He grew on me, and I was actually sad when the team cut him in 2012.
As of 2019, Matt does studio analysis for Fox Sports College Football. I had hoped to corral Matt at the Longhorns USC game in 2018, but he didn’t appear, so I went ahead and gave him a shot in the dark after getting some encouragement and tips from my friend Deadhorse. After 4 months or so I got quite a jolt out of getting both of these autographs back- that’s for sure!
Jared played college ball for the Idaho State Bengals from 2000 to 2003. It should be noted that Allen experienced exponential growth in almost every statistical field every year he played for the Bengals. In his Senior year of 2003, he started 12 games and posted 102 combined tackles, 28 tackles for loss, 17.5 sacks, 9 pass deflections, 6 forced fumbles, and 3 fumble recoveries- earning him the Buck Buchanan award for the nation’s best D-I defensive player. Despite Jared’s resume and imposing physique (6’6″, 265), he was not selected until the 4th round of the 2004 draft by the Kansas City Chiefs.
Jared played 4 seasons for the Chiefs and much like his college career, experienced a strong upward curve in his statistical production. In his final season in Kansas City, Jared logged an NFL leading 15.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss, while catching 2 TD passes moonlighting on offense. He was named both to the Pro Bowl and an All-Pro.
Jared was traded by the Chiefs to the Vikings in 2008 in a blockbuster trade. Taking his talents to the NFC North, Jared again notched 2 more AP and Pro Bowl seasons with consecutive 14.5 sack seasons. After a ‘down year’ in 2010, Allen had a career high 22 sacks- missing the NFL sack record by just .5 sacks in the final game. He’d play two more years in Minnesota, and finish with an impressive 85.5 sacks in just 6 years.
Allen moved on to the Bears for 2014, but was moved to an OLB capacity in Chicago’s 3-4 alignment and record 5.5 sacks on the season. Jared was on the move again, traded to the Carolina Panthers 4 games into the season. He’d play in his first Super Bowl as the Panthers fell to the Broncos 24-10.
After the season, Jared retired but holds the NFL records for safeties (4-tied), consecutive games with a sack (11), and times leading the league in sacks (2). He has led a very interesting life post-retirement and has worked in charitable work with the Juvenile Diabetes Program, the NFL-USO tours, and the Wounded Warrior Project. Outside of that he’s an avid outdoorsman and curler, and put together a team of former NFL players to compete at a variety of national curling competitions.
I am so proud to be a part of @theAAF and be able to help change the game forever.
– Jared Allen
In 2018, Jared stunned the football world when he joined Bill Polian, Troy Polamalu, Justin Tuck, and founder Charlie Ebersol on stage to announce the Alliance of American Football. In the well rehearsed but quickly staged news conference Jared and Justin Tuck got up on a stage and sold the product like a tech start up. Forget the XFL. I was in and I was excited for the A-A-F.
Jared was in full throttle too, as both an investor and also in player relations. Oddly though, this was the most we saw of Jared for the remainder of the AAF’s short duration. He continued to strongly trumpet the league on social media, but as 2019 rolled around, this came to an abrupt stop.
In April of 2019, after hemorrhaging cash for most of its duration the AAF ended after just 8 games, as chief investor Tom Dundon pulled out his remaining investment.
Considering Jared’s through the mail track record, I was shocked to get this one back, little less in 12 days. I’d like to believe that the content of the letter matters and that players do read them.
Jared has a lot of great looking cards. It was very hard to trim it down to even 3 to send him, however I chose these 3 from his time as a member of the Minnesota Vikings. For once I was sort of underwhelmed by a Score 2009 entry, purely because it’s Jared celebrating after a sack. His hands both annoyingly go into the margin of the design and make the photo placement look careless. I really like the look of both the Upper Deck and the Adrenalyn cards while the Adrenalyn has a nice reflecting shine to it.
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.