Cards: Action Packed 1991, SkyBox 1992
Acquired: TTM 1992, Patriots Blitz
John Stephens was a bruising halfback drafted in the first round of the 1988 draft by the New England Patriots. A tough, relatively unknown competitor from a small Louisiana college, John would burst onto the scene and in his rookie season it would culminate with him taking the offensive rookie of the year award home rushing for 1168 yards and a Pro Bowl nod. A relatively plain halfback with excellent quickness and relentless, churning legs, he would lead the Patriots in rushing the next two seasons, but never eclipse the 1,000 yard mark or return to the ProBowl with injuries beginning to slow him down. With Leonard Russell drafted in 1991, John would be relegated to backup- but refused to give up and moved to fullback where he refined himself as a tough blocker. He’d stay with the team through 1992. In 1993 he’d play in one final season splitting time with the Chiefs, Packers and Falcons before retiring. Since then, John had led a relatively quiet life in the Louisiana area, but tragically was killed in 2009 when his car slammed into a tree and he was thrown from the car. Below are his career statistics:
G/Gs 88/64 Att 945 Yds 3440 Avg 3.6 Td 18 Lg 52 |
Rec 105 Yds 812 Avg 7.7 Td 1 Lg 43
Cards: ProSet 1991, SkyBox 1992
Acquired: TTM 1993, Patriots Blitz
The New England Patriots when they were the trapped in the doldrums of the AFC East were always very good with their fans about signing cards. Andre Tippett played both defensive end and linebacker over his college and pro career. Complicated by the fact that glitz and glamor linebacker Lawrence Taylor was drafted a season before him and a quiet rookie season in 1982, Tippett’s versatile abilities were often overshadowed and overlooked. Once acclimated to the pro game and inserted into a proper ‘tweener’ role, Tippett quickly established himself as a sackmaster, making the ProBowl in 5 seasons, named All-Pro twice, and was named NFL Defensive player of the year in 1985. Humbly and quietly, Andre continued to compile an impressive resume, making 18.5 sacks in 1984, and 16.5 in 1985- the highest back to back season sack numbers in NFL history. While his lone SuperBowl appearance in 1985 ended in defeat to the vaunted Chicago Bears, Tippett continued to crush opposing quarterbacks from his LOLB position until injuries took their toll. A catastrophic shoulder injury took his complete 1989 season away and a good portion of 1990, where he received consideration for comeback player of the year honors (losing to Barry Word). Tippett would finish his stellar 12 year career in 1993, as the Patriots all-time leading sacker with 100 sacks and 17 fumbles.
Since his playing career has ended Andre has moved into the front offices of the Patriots organization working as part of their community affairs and outreach program. He was enshrined by his college – Iowa in 2007, and in 2008 after a very long wait- Andre Tippett was inducted into the Pro Football HoF. Andre is also a member of the NFL’s All 1980’s team, the Patriots 35th anniversary team and the Patriots Hall of Fame in 1999. He enjoys coaching Pop Warner football in his spare time, playing golf, is a renowned 4th degree black belt, and is a Baptist convert to Judaism. In 2011 he was honored with the announcement of New England’s 2nd round pick during the NFL draft.
G/Gs 151/139 Tac N/a Sac 100 Fum 17 Int 1 Yds 42 Avg 42.0 Td 0 lg 42
Cards: Action Packed Rookies 1992, Classic 1992, SkyBox 1992
Acquired: TTM 1993, C/o The Cincinnatti Bengals. In Person 1996, Dallas Cowboys Training Camp.
David Klingler was another in a line of Houston Cougar record-setting quarterbacks (Andre Ware) under the Run and Shoot offense. He’d set a then record with 11 touchdown passes and 716 yards in a game against Eastern Washington in 1990, winning the Sammy Baugh award after that season. David would also break Ware’s career passing records and set the NCAA record for touchdowns in a season (since broken) with 54. In 1992, Klingler would be the #1 pick of the floundering Cincinnati Bengals franchise with the 6th pick overall (right after Terrell Buckley).(Thinking in terms of quarterbacks that were from the 1992 draft, the only members of this draft to make the Pro Bowl ever in their careers were Brad Johnson and Jeff Blake.) The Bengals had a fresh new coach in Dave Shula, and he wanted a fresh, new face at quarterback along with him. This meant Klingler also had the very unenvious position of replacing extremely popular player Boomer Esiason at quarterback. Klingler in his rookie season would start 4 games under center for the Bengals posting 3 touchdowns to 2 picks, and throwing for an anemic 5.4 yards per throw. He’d also be sacked 18 times in 1992- a rate of a bit over 4 a game. In 1993, Klingler was dubbed starting quarterback, where I’d send off through the mail to get his autograph. In 13 games, the Bengals allowed Klingler to get sacked 40 times, but he’d try to make up for it with his rushing ‘prowess’, running for 282 yards and a 6.9 yard average. He would only throw for 6 touchdowns to 9 interceptions. David would almost duplicate those numbers in 1994, starting in only 7 games and being sacked 24 times. In 1995, he had a forgettable season with the Bengals and was released. Considered one of the many busts of the early nineties, Klingler never really stood a chance behind a patchwork line and in his first career game he was sacked 7 times by the Steelers. The Raiders would take a flyer on Klingler, where he played 2 more seasons and I got his autograph in 1996 at Dallas Cowboys training camp. After his 1996 season with the Raiders, he’d be signed by the Packers looking for competition behind Brett Favre, but he’d lose out in training camp and retire soon thereafter.
Klingler since leaving the NFL has graduated with a Doctorate in Old Testament Studies from the Dallas Theological Seminary. He remains an avid football fan and backer of the University of Houston.
G/Gs 33/20 Att 389 Comp 718 Yds 3994 Pct Td 16 Int 22 Rat 65.1