Tag Archives: steals of the 1989 draft

Metcalf, Eric

pset90 metcalf pset91 metcalf stclub93 metcalf sco90 metcalf
Cards: ProSet 1990, UD UT 2011 Icons, UD UT 2011, SkyBox 1992, GameDay 1992, ProSet 1991,Fleer 1990, Stadium Club 1993, Score 1990, Score 1991 90+ Club

Acquired: In Person 1/30/2012, 1300 The Zone 3rd Base Appearance
Failure: TTM 1992, C/o The Cleveland Browns, TTM 2010 C/o Home

gday92 metcalfThird time is a charm right? Well Eric Metcalf has been an idol of mine since I was a kid, and I had tried twice before -and failed to acquire the elusive runningback/return man/wide receiver out of the University of Texas. Meeting Metcalf in person was a treat for me as he had been on my list obviously for a long time.

I believe that the first college football game that I attended at Darrell K. Memorial Stadium, was a game with the Longhorns against the Arkansas Razorbacks. While the Longhorns lost, amidst their late 1980’s slump, Metcalf dominated doing everything for the Longhorns and by the time he graduated, Eric was the school’s all time leading receiver. Metcalf finished his career as a local Longhorn athletic legend playing even baseball and running track.

The Cleveland Browns became enamored with his athleticism, and Eric was drafted in the first round, during one of the greatest modern era drafts of all time -1989. Metcalf provided a speedy spark for the Browns on offense. The do it all back lined up at runningback or receiver and provided incredible mismatches for linebackers in the flat. He also returned kicks too, and then flr90 metcalfafter the departure of Gerald McNeil to Houston, as a punt returner as well. Spending his first 6 seasons in Cleveland, there were some spectacular highlight reels of Metcalf in action during a Monday Night Game against the Bengals where he made 3 players miss before  galloping into the endzone untouched, or his famous one man army against the Raiders in 1992 when he scored all 4 of the Browns touchdowns to beat LA. Eric finished his career in Cleveland with 9108 combined yards, 5 punt returns and  2 kick returns for touchdowns, 11 tds rushing and 15 receiving.

In 1995, Eric played for the Atlanta Falcons, under the Red Gun of head coach June Jones and gunslinger Jeff George. He’d fit right in under the Run ‘N Shoot variant, recording 104 receptions for 1189 yards and 8 touchdowns. After a down year in 1996, Eric would be traded to the San Diego Chargers where he spent one year with Kevin Gilbride. He’d lead the NFL with 3 punt returns for touchdowns that season and earn his second All Pro honor. He’d go one and done with the Chargers and head out to Arizona after San Diego traded him and 2 first round choices in 1998 to grabsky92 metcalf Ryan Leaf during the draft. Eric finished the season with 1837 yards from scrimmage. 1999, Eric spent with the Carolina Panthers, recording 456 YFS, and 2001 with the Washington Redskins setting the NFL record after returning his 10th career punt for a touchdown. After a short stint with the Packers in 2002, Eric decided to hang up the cleats. At the time of his retirement Eric Metcalf, the do-it-all back from the University of Texas had 17230 all purpose yards in his NFL career which was good for 5th all time.

I had recently been complaining to Josh about there not being enough player appearances for autographs around town. The newspapers used to run aggressive advertising about player appearances but I was fretting that times had changed and this was no longer the case. While reading the sports page that day I had seen that Eric was making an appearance at a local bar with 1300 -The Zone ( AKA The Longhorn Station). I went out of my way to get out to the event so that I could meet Eric. I walked in at 5 where the radio team and Rod Babers were set up, only to find Eric Metcalf and Charlie Ward sitting off by themselves away from the hooplah. utud2011 metcalfAfter confirming that- those were indeed both of those players and that they were not being mobbed for autographs, I proceeded to meet Eric, and acquire his autograph on as many of his cards that I could. Disappointingly, I didn’t have another ProSet 1989 card of him, and even stopped on the way into town to cull one from the local card dealer. When I spoke to Eric, I told him that I had tried multiple times in the past to write him but had not had any success. He shrugged his shoulders and said that he was normally pretty good about that, and he offered to sign as many cards as I’d like. (- I had 11.)  I sat there for a while and shot the breeze with Metcalf. When I told him that I felt that the 1989 draft was probably one of the best modern day drafts of all time- his eyes lighted up in agreement. We talked about the numerous HoFers from that draft, and I told him that his numbers were deserving to be among the hall. I told him how I remembered his shellacking of the Bengals on Monday Night Football, and we talked about his career in glorious retrospective. Among the laughs he got out of it was how he returned a kickoff for a TD against the Oilers, even though I had told him that I had hoped they would kick it nowhere near him. He sco91 metcalfchewed the Oilers up for some 200 yards returning that day, but the Browns lost 41-17 or something horrendous like that.

Eric was the honorary captain of the USA v. The World Football game held annually in Austin. As the girls who were trying to inform fans of the event approached the table to talk to us, I acted as though I had no clue what was going on and that Eric was not the ‘MC of the event’. I let her do her spiel and then asked her if she knew who I was. I then told her that, “I, was Eric Metcalf.” I then told her all about Eric’s illustrious career, and even got up to try to imitate one of his moves. All the time Eric was laughing at me, and told the poor girl not to listen to me.  She still had no clue who Eric was, but said that we didn’t look old at all. Eric and I sat there for a few minutes more and talked until more fans started arriving. He quipped to me that he didn’t need to say anything and that I should just be his publicist, since I knew everything about him already. I even recounted the teams he had been on in his career. (We both casually forgot his Green Bay and Carolina stints.) After about 20 minutes of bantering around and then meeting the subdued Charlie udut2011icons metcalfWard, I got a photo with Eric and hit the road, a very happy camper. It was indeed a very successful experience.

Eric enjoys coaching track now in the Seattle area. I asked him if he ever thought about coaching football, and he told me that, “Coaching track is much easier than football ever was,” And then laughed. Frequently Metcalf comes to the area, 3-4 times a year for alumni and other events around town. He is extremely approachable and very kind to fans.

In entertainment and media, Eric was a dominating running back in Tecmo Super Bowl for the Browns. I IMAG0473enjoyed playing as the Browns because I built the offense to work around him. I’d start him at both return man jobs, and at runningback. If I was unable to rush for very many yards, I’d stick him out at receiver. Among the plethora of players that they got wrong on that game, Metcalf sticks out as one they completely nailed.

Here is Eric’s exhaustive statistical line:
G/Gs 179/77     Pr  351   Yds  3453  Avg  9.8    Td 10   Lg 92t
Kr 280   Yds 5813   Avg 20.8   Td 2  Lg 101t
Rush 630  Yds 2392   Avg 3.8    Td 12   Lg 55
Rec  541   Yds  5572   Avg 10.3  Td 31   Lg 69

Part 1 of 4 from Eric Metcalf’s highlight reel:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wafxQ63iwMg&feature=related


Atwater, Steve “Smiling Assassin”


pac91 atwaterpset89 atwater


Cards: ProSet 1991 AP, Pacific 1991, ProSet 1989
Acquired:  TTM 2011, C/o Home
Sent: 1/13      Received:  3/13   (43 days)

Steve Atwater was a dangerous, hard hitting safety who quickly defined the role during the late 80s and 90s, (when great safeties roamed the Earth unencumbered by the more liberal passing rules and hitting restrictions that now restrict the defensive game) and is the all-time leader in interceptions at Arkansas. Drafted in the first round of the stellar 1989 draft over other talent because of his leadership qualities, Atwater was quickly inserted into the starting lineup beside Dennis Smith by new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips who employed him near the line of scrimmage to enforce the run.  Steve would validate his selection by making 124 tackles and 3 interceptions finishing second behind Derrick Thomas for Defensive ROY honors that season.  Over the next 9 seasons for the Broncos Atwater would become a lock for the Pro Bowl and as an All Pro (1990-1996, 1998) for his solid play and tackling. Steve would make a career high 5 interceptions in 1991 and won two Superbowl rings with the Broncos in 1997 and 1998. However in 1999, Steve would be a salary cap casualty and play one final injury marred finale for the New York Jets.  In retrospect, Atwater has left astounding tackle numbers on the table for a safety. Another unsung hero who should be in the HoF, Steve has never gotten his due- perhaps because he plays at such an unglamorous position.

Since retirement, Atwater has been bestowed many honors including: Being named to the All-Decade team of the 90s, the Broncos Hall of Fame, the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, and the Razorback All-Century Team.  It was really tough to choose which cards to send as there were some nice cards of Atwater’s hitting but I settled on these showcase cards.  I had heard that Atwater was a wonderful respondent TTM with fans and I was not disappointed receiving these back in a bit over 40 days personalizing them to me as well.

G/Gs  167/166        Tac  1074      Sac  5.0    Fum 6     Int 24     Yds 408     Avg  17.0    Td 1    Lg  68

Butts, Marion

Cards: ProSet 1989, ProSet 1990, Fleer 1990, Action Packed 1992
Acquired: TTM 2010, C/o Home
Sent: 2/3  Received: 3/26  (51 days)

The Chargers found a steal when they reached in the top of the 7th round of the infamous 1989 draft for little known Marion Butts out of Florida State. In his rookie season in 1989 he’d come in off the bench during the last 5 games rumbling for  683 yards and 9 touchdowns, including a game in which he single-handedly dominated the Chiefs rushing for 176 yards. Slipping under the radar when he was drafted, many had pegged Butts as purely a blocking fullback or perhaps special teams hitter (with his 6-1 248 frame)  however his style would define the Chargers run game for nearly 5 seasons. Marion’s sophomore season would prove that his surprising rookie season was not a fluke as he galloped for a career high 1225 yards making his first ProBowl.  Butts would follow this season up with an additional ProBowl in 1991- but would only start 8 games. With the emergence of Natrome Means, Butts would play for the Chargers through the 1993 season and finish up his career there with around 4300 yards. In 1994 Marion would hop over to play for Bill Parcells and the New England Patriots helping the team make the playoffs with his stout running and 1995 would see Marion’s final season played with the vagabond Houston Oilers where he started 2 games and retired after the season’s conclusion. Since football Butts has tried his hand at coaching the sport at the high school level.

Marion is apparently a great through the mail signer and although I had to wait sometime, he graciously signed 4 cards for me. Butts had some great cards, and the ProSet franchise really framed his running style well. The Tecmo SuperBowl franchise represented him well. One of the vaunted and feared ‘popcorn’ runningbacks, (Heyward, Mack, and Okoye also come to mind) you could literally run at or dive at Butts and he would throw you up in the air like popcorn.

G/Gs 104/73    Rush 1345   Yds  5185   Avg 3.9    Td  43    Lg  52 |
Rec  68    Yds  471    Avg 6.9   Td  1   Lg  46