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.
A transfer from Cerritos, Jim Zorn played at Cal Poly-Ponoma, where he set multiple passing records for the school from 1973 to 1974 as a dual threat quarterback. He was not selected in the 1975 NFL Amateur Draft, but he signed a free agent contract with the Cowboys. Jim did not make the squad, but made enough of an impression that he was brought in by the brand new Seattle Seahawks franchise the following year (1976) to compete in camp.
Jim ended up winning the starting quarterback job outright, and was named rookie of the year in 1976, leading the league with 439 attempts- and interceptions with 27, while rushing for 4 TDs. In 1977 he started 10 games, but posted a gaudy league leading 16.2 yards per completion on 104 passes. By 1978 it was obvious that Zorn to Largent was becoming a household name, as the franchise posted back to back 9-7 records under his leadership. Jim’s penchant for scrambling was in full effect, as he carried the ball 59 times for 290 yards and 6 TDs. He’d have all career single season passing highs in the latter year (1979) throwing for 3661 yards (285/505) and 20 TDs to 18 interceptions. It seemed that Jim’s best games where when he was on the run and improvising. As his rushing stats decreased over the following seasons, so did his passing stats, and win/ loss record. In 1983 he’d be benched in favor of Dave Krieg. At that time, Jim, had been the only quarterback pretty much in the history of the franchise, and owned virtually all the franchise passing records.
Jim signed with the Green Bay Packers in 1985. He posted a 3-2 record for the team, passing for 794 yards and 4 TDs. In 1986, Jim traveled to Winnipeg where he backed up John Hufnagel and Tom Clements, on the Blue Bombers. After his lone season in the CFL, Zorn returned to the NFL in 1987 where he played one final swan song for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, beating the Minnesota Vikings 20-10, before retiring.
Jim has an extensive coaching resume. He started shortly after retiring from football in college, taking stops in as an assistant coach, offensive coordinator, and quarterbacks coach at Boise State (1988-1991), Utah State (1992-1994) and 1995-1996 at Minnesota. He quickly joined the NFL as an assistant with his former team- the Seahawks in 1997. Afterwards it was off to the Lions from 1998-2000, where he began to really develop a reputation as a great quarterback whisperer. He then returned to the Seahawks in 2001. He remained QB coach for the franchise until 2007, where he made the jump to head coach with the Washington Redskins.
Jim Zorn’s Washington Redskins tenure was shortlived. Embarrassing moments were not in short supply unfortunately. First the Redskins broke the hapless Lions 0-16 streak dating back through 2008. Then, during a game in 2009 against the Giants, Jim called a ‘swinging gate’ formation (which is reliant on the element of surprise to make mismatches)- so the Giants wisely called a timeout. The Redskins not only stuck to the play- it resulted in an interception, and caused the team to get booed off the field at half time. He lasted two seasons, as the Redskins failed to compete- posting a 12-20 record.
After coaching for the Redskins, Jim served one season as QB coach of the Ravens in 2010, and then as QB coach for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2011 and 2012. He joined the XFL as head coach of the Seattle Dragons, and as his offensive coordinator Mike Riley took a leave of absence from the team, Jim had to take a more hands on approach. He was able to navigate the team through a quarterback controversy and a win before the league was terminated after the 5th game of the season, due to COVID.
I was surprised that Jim was not a part of the XFL 2020 set released by Topps. Nonetheless I wanted to get his autograph on this Upper Deck 1997 Legends card I had of his. I love this card. The detail is stunning, even down to the cheerleaders and band in the background.
He signed this card in 6 days flat and inscribed it with an interesting passage:
Like snow in summer or rain in harvest, honor is not fitting for a fool.
Pete Metzelaars made his mark at tiny Wabash, as a two sport star playing basketball and football. He was selected in the 3rd round of the 1982 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. After catching just 27 passes in 3 seasons for the Seahawks, Pete was traded to the Buffalo Bills in 1985.
He caught 49 passes for 485 yards and 3 TDs in 1986 starting his first 16 game slate. In 1988, Pete put up another 33 passes for 438 yards and a TD. After a few years being used primarily as a blocking tight end Pete saw an uptick in 1992, and then caught a career high 68 passes for 609 yards and 4 TDs in ’93 starting all 16 games for the first time since 1989. Metzelaars played one more season for the Bills in 1994, adding another 49 catches for 428 yards and 5 TDs.
In 1995, Pete was allowed to walk via free agency. He joined the expansion Carolina Panthers for a season catching 20 passes and recording 3 TDs. He then played 2 more additional seasons for the Detroit Lions in 1996 and 1997 catching 17 passes in both years. Metzelaars retired after the ’97 season, and decided to go into coaching.
Pete spent 5 years honing his craft at the high school level as an offensive coordinator. He then coached in Europe with the Barcelona Dragons in 2003, and Wingate College as well. In 2004, Pete joined the Indianapolis Colts where he saw the most success, coaching the offensive line from 2004-2011. He then saw a one year stint as tight ends coach of the Bills in 2012, and then the Chargers in 2014 and 2015. After spending another two years back at the high school level, Metzelaars coached offensive line for the Atlanta Legends of the Alliance of American Football in 2019.
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.