Cards: Topps AAF 2019 Certified, Topps AAF, Sage 2017 Acquired: 2019, Ebay. 2020, Houston Roughnecks/ Tampa Vipers Joint Practice
Tarean Folston was a runningback for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish from 2014-2017. Over his 4 years he ran for 1,712 yards on 343 carries, scoring 11 TDs. Although seldom called upon, he caught 31 passes for 294 yards and a TD. He was not selected in the 2017 NFL Draft, but stayed in playing shape.
Keeping his dream alive, Folston joined the fledgling Alliance of American Football. He’d be assigned to the Atlanta Legends. The Legends were a snakebitten franchise when it came to their coaching staff, but Folston remained a constant in the backfield for Atlanta. He’d finish as the franchise’s leading rusher with 223 yards on 53 carries, scoring a TD. Tarean also showed some vision and hands catching 26 passes for 163 yards and 2 TDs.
After the league folded, Tarean joined the Tampa Bay Vipers of the new XFL in 2020. I attended the open practice between the two teams, and was fortunate enough to get Folston’s autograph on these 2 cards of his. Folston had switched numbers with another player, but recognizing De’Veon Smith, he called Folston over for me- because they loved the fact I was a true fan of the AAF. Tarean still has his trademark dreds, that he told me took 5 years to grow out to such magnificence.
I was lucky enough to watch most of the last half of the AAF season on their app, before they shuddered it in early 2020. I always had a soft spot for the Legends, and studied the team’s offensive woes, but was shocked to see Tarean back there pounding the rock out with authority for Atlanta like a poor man’s Joseph Addai. He quickly became my favorite player on the team.
Card: Topps AAF 2019 Acquired: In Person 2019, Houston Roughnecks/ Tampa Bay Vipers Scrimmage
MIcah Hannemann was a 3 year starter at Safety for BYU between 2015 and 2017. He posted 123 total tackles, 2.5 sacks, 1 tackle for loss, 14 pass deflections, 1 forced fumble, and 4 interceptions for 75 yards and a TD.
With the demise of the AAF, Hannemann was selected by the Tampa Bay Vipers of the XFL 2020 in the 6th round of phase 4. Over 5 games Micah posted 28 total tackles, before the XFL was cancelled due to COVID.
One of the first players I caught coming off the field on the Vipers’ side of the field was Micah. He was kind enough to sign my card and thanked me for being a fan of the AAF. We talked for a minute about the league and the Stallions before we went our separate ways.
Cards: Topps AAF 2019 Certified, Topps AAF 2019 Acquired: 2019, EBay. IP 2020, Houston Roughnecks /Tampa Bay Vipers Joint Practice
A 3 year starter for Eastern Michigan at linebacker, Ike Spearman medical redshirted his 2015 season, granting him a 5th year of eligibility. He’d play for them from 2012-2017, posting 179 total tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, and a forced fumble.
Ike joined the Alliance of American Football in 2019. He’d sign with the Birmingham Iron and start 1 game, posting 8 tackles and 3 assists for the team before the league folded. Afterwards he’d join the XFL Tampa Bay Vipers for the 2020 season.
Noticing that players from the Vipers had their gear against the wall, I waited patiently for them to finish practice and come over. Ike was one of the first players over, and he gladly signed this card for me. Early in February though, Ike suffered an injury and was placed on the Vipers injured reserve.
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.