Tag Archives: Tennessee Titans

Young, Vince VY (4)

Card: Panini Contenders 2018, Score 2010, Panini Contenders 2010*, Donruss Classics 2009-2010*
Acquired: In Person, 2018 Heisman House, 2018 Kicking it ATX
See Also: Vince Young, Vince Young (2), Vince Young (3)

Paired with Ricky Williams the day the Heisman House tour came to Austin was none other than UT’s very own Vince Young. It seemed like a no brainer to go to the event. While it’d seem odd that VY would be a guest at the event- it completely made sense for a variety of reasons. UT was playing USC, and while the rivalry from that great 2006 game has dimmed slightly, the comradely between the two storied schools has grown. Vince recently was inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame, 10+ years after he became the only two time MVP of that game, (little less with one of them for a National Championship against USC). The final reason is because VY wanted to win the Heisman in 2006, but it was given to Reggie Bush instead. When Bush had to vacate the honor, the presenters tried to give it to Vince Young- but he declined the secondhand award. 

As usual Vince strolled in 20-30 minutes late, much to the chagrin of those standing in line for autographs. He was accompanied by none other than USC runningback LenDale White. I had no clue but apparently VY and White were very good friends. They had become close after their years on the Titans together. Vince did a short interview about his time playing at Texas and answered a few questions. He then donned a pair of shades and signed autographs for the fans in line. I didn’t really want to push it so I was quite happy to have him pen this Panini Contenders 2018 card. We talked for a second and exchanged pleasantries. He told me, “To be blessed!”, and I told him, “Hey, you know you have a choice. You can get up in the morning and be happy if you want or mad. I choose to be happy.” He then responded, “You know it.” This was probably my second best experience meeting VY. It’d be in stark contrast to his appearance at Kicking It ATX. 

I had high hopes for the Kicking It ATX event at the Domain. I had really bad luck the last few in person events, as very little had been scheduled and the cancellations kept rolling in. I got probably 9 or so cards of Vince ready to go and with him proclaiming on Twitter that there would be special guests, I got pumped that maybe there’d be a few other guest stars.

It was a total letdown. Outside of Vince, Aaron Ross and his wife just had a baby and had to make a last second cancellation. They basically walked in the door- and back out. Vince was pretty nice to fans, but when I asked him if he was going to watch the new football leagues (XFL, AAF), he told me essentially no, but with an f-bomb attached to it. He signed these three cards, for me, but I just felt like he wasn’t happy at all that I was there as he gave me and my friend the stink face while signing our stuff.

I know that I am an older fan and collector. Most players just don’t see that anymore. They see people like me as a threat to their brand or another white guy EBay-ing their autograph. I just left that event feeling introspectively defensive about my involvement in the ‘The Hobby’, and it maybe the end of the road for me getting VY’s autograph.  

I decided in the end to give away two of the cards I got from the event. Bryan is a good guy who just seems to have bad luck. He’s almost like John Candy from ‘Planes, Trains, and Automobiles’, and like John’s character, he has a giant heart for ‘The Hobby’. There’s nobody more deserving of one of these than him- so I gave him the Playoff Contenders 2010. The other card- the Donruss Classics 09/10, had been in my collection for a while. Eric and I have been chatting it up back and forth for sometime and he’s helping me on a super secret signing or two, so I felt it’d be nice to drop him the other one out of the blue as well.

Johnson, Steven (LB)

Card: Topps AAF 2019
Acquired: 2019, EBay

Looks like Steven was getting a bit tired of signing cards at this point. The autograph looks a bit shortened- but I’ll take it!

Steven Johnson is a great football story- as he’s managed to succeed against all odds. He didn’t receive any college opportunities out of high school, and after playing both ways at Wyoming Seminary, he suffered a devastating knee injury that tore it essentially from the socket. After rehabbing, he walked-on at Kansas and fought his way up the depth chart. By his Junior year he was an entrenched starter at linebacker. He finished his college career with 225 total tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 3 pass deflections and an interception in 35 games.

Undrafted, Steven signed with the Denver Broncos in 2012 and managed to make the 52 man roster playing primarily on special teams. He started 7 games in 2014 at middle linebacker, posting 39 total tackles, .5 sacks, and a fumble recovery. He’d then embark on a series on stops with the Titans (2015), Steelers (2016), Steelers and Ravens (2017).

He’d join the Alliance of American Football for the 2019 season and be assigned to the Arizona Hotshots. Steven had a banner season for the Hotshots. He’d lead the team in interceptions with 3, and finish 3rd on the team in combined tackles with 48.

After the AAF folded suddenly, Johnson was selected by the Seattle Dragons of the XFL 2020. Over the course of the 5 game season, Steven posted 48 tackles to lead all players in the league. Unfortunately due to the Coronavirus outbreak- the XFL cancelled the remainder of the season

White, LenDale (2)

Cards: Donruss Rookies & Stars Longevity 2009, Score 2009
Acquired: In Person 2018, Heisman House Tour
See Also: LenDale White

Rumor swirled that maybe some former USC alumni would be in attendance for ‘Part III’ of the USC v Texas matchup and I figured the Heisman House would probably be the best place to catch some of them. This added up with the fact that Vince Young was already hosting a get together of sorts between the 2005 National Championship teams (USC v Texas) in Austin during this period. I pulled some cards from the 2005 USC team. I speculated Reggie Bush was too controversial to be there- since he had to forfeit the trophy he lost that VY later rejected. I thought well maybe Matt Leinart, or another USC Heisman winner. My friend Deadhorse suggested Charles White or Marcus Allen. I then thought, maybe LenDale White since he and Bo Scaife are good friend and have their own show called “The Players’ Lounge”- and packed them all in the infamous long box.

See the rule is- always plan as though anybody can be there. That’s how I got Harvey Martin and Roger Staubach. That’s also how I missed on Babe Laufenberg at the Spring League game in 2018. It’s also how I got a hit on Troy Polamalu and Hines Ward.

It was a terribly humid day with thunderstorms forecast for the entire day. I met up with a fellow collector- Jeff. He and I have many parallels in our life. We both had our first kid recently, and we both used to be denizens of autograph alley back when the Cowboys practiced at St. Edwards. I am always eager to network with other like-minded collectors and we make a pretty good fit. His wife and son also came and somehow managed to bare the humidity. (Not only does my wife deserve credit for allowing me to go to such things, Jeff’s wife should get a trooper badge for showing up to them with him.) We waited in line and got Ricky Williams– twice. In the meantime his wife got back in line for VY, so we joined her in that line after we got done with Ricky. Behind us a commotion occurred and I noticed that some USC players were taking photos with somebody with dreads. Before I could ask, he was already leaving to go inside. I found out then it was LenDale White. I pulled the extra cards that I brought of LenDale- numbering some 6, took two for myself and gave the other two to Jeff and then I vigilantly waited for him to appear. 

It turns out that LenDale and Vince Young are really good friends. They got to know each other better when they played on the Titans together, and apparently talk on the phone almost every day. During Vince’s interview about the 2005 National Championship Game, LenDale came out from the trailer connected to the tent and onto the stage and was hanging out in between sets.  It was then I was able to approach him and get him to sign two cards for me. 

LenDale was looking quite svelte. When I asked him what he had been doing with himself to look so cut- he laughed and said, he stopped working out. I always felt like he got a bad wrap coming out of college, and that he was a better back than he was given credit for.  He thanked me for the compliment, and we wished each other good luck for that evening.  A few minutes later Jeff came back with his signed in hand as well. It was a great experience, and we were able to make the weekend signing worthwhile. The initial goal was the clear the table with Ricky and a VY or two. Anything else was just gravy- and nabbing LenDale White was quite the treat.