Tag Archives: tnt texans

Hal, Andre

Card: Panini Instant 2016 (1/64), TNT Texans, Memorabilia
Acquired: In Person, 2017 Houston Texans Stampede Tour

Andre Hal played for Vanderbilt from 2010 to 2013 at cornerback and on special teams as a returner.  His best year came in his Senior campaign in 2013 when he earned Second Team All-SEC Honors with 3 interceptions, 49 tackles, and 18 passes defensed. With his fleet speed and athleticism, Andre had the chops to play in a man-cover system, on special teams, and possesses solid intangibles.

He’d be there in the 7th round for the Texans to select him in 2014. Looking back, not only is Hal turning out to be a true diamond in the rough, it was a no-brainer for the Texans to select him for their well trained secondary.  As the preseason continued Hal made enough of an impression to make the squad, despite the Texans impressive depth chart. He finished his rookie season with 15 tackles and 4 passes defensed at cornerback.

The Texans had a need at safety.  They had tried platoons and the fiasco that was Ed Reed in the previous years.  Hal just wanted to contribute any way he could. He made his first career 2 career interceptions against Jacksonville in Week 6, taking one 31 yards to the house and spurring the team to a 34-20 win.  He finished the year with 4 interceptions for 54 yards with that TD, 10 passes defensed, and 34 tackles, playing all over the field from linebacker to both safety positions over 11 starts. Andre returned for 2016 as the starter at free safety.  Again through 11 starts, Andre had 2 interceptions for 36 yards, 7 passes defensed, his first career sack, and 46 tackles for the NFL’s leading defensive unit.

Andre appeared at the Texans Stampede Tour in 2017 alongside Christian Covington. He was more than eager to get his own card, signing everything I had and the Texans handout for me. I told him that I expected another pick for a  TD against the Jaguars to which he shook my hand and exclaimed, “My man! He knows!”

I was willing to pay a premium to get a card- any card of Andre’s for this event. As it stands outside of a Leaf 2014 certified autograph, there were no base cards of Hal made- and despite his performance in the secondary, he’s never registered on a Topps or Score card. I payed a fat premium to get this Panini Instant card of him. It’s a nice card, but very basic, and way too many logos for my liking- even if they are balanced on both sides. My thought is that the logos should go down the left side of the card. This would make them appear as badges. Also this card is an error card. By the point this card was issued in 2016, Hal was exclusively playing free safety (FS).

Hal’s autograph is a unique spin on an otherwise exhausted signature. Most players who have an ‘A’ to start their name overdo the size or turn it into a star, but in Andre’s case he cleverly centers it to cross through his first and last name.

Grimes, Jonathan

Card: TNT Texans Custom
Acquired: 2016, Houston Texans Academy Liberty White Stampede Tour

One of my old collecting friends from ‘back in the day’ of the Fanmail website was a broadcaster for the Old Dominion Monarchs team. Grimes was head and shoulders above the competition coming out of William & Mary and dominated the competition.  My friend told me that Jonathan Grimes was THE man, and was a solid free agent signee by the Texans.

Grimes made the roster in 2012, and toiled away on the team’s practice squad.  Other teams coveted him, and he did not stay on the PS for long with the Jets signing him and putting him to limited work as a 3rd down back. The Jets cut him in October of that season.

As the Texans descended into chaos, during Gary Kubiak‘s final season with injuries hitting the Texans’ RB corps of Arian Foster and Ben Tate, Grimes found himself back with the team and was elevated to play on special teams.  He’d eventually finish his whirlwind tour on the roster of the Jaguars by the end of the season.

Cut in August of 2013 by Jacksonville, Grimes returned to the Texans for the 3rd time after Ben Tate was placed on IR.  He scored his first professional TD against the Titans.  He’d finish the season with 73 yards on 23 carries and 6 receptions for 76 yards. Since that time, HC Bill O’Brien has found a way to keep Grimes on the roster.

In 2014, Jonathan ran for 153 yards on 39 carries as he began to settle in as a 3rd down/ change of pace runningback for the franchise.  As injuries finally caught up to Arian Foster in 2015, Grimes saw his workload increase. He put in a career high 282 yards on 56 carries, and 26 receptions for 173 yards, scoring a TD rushing and receiving in the same game.

Despite not playing as much in 2016 due to the signing of new bell cow back Lamar Miller, Grimes proved to be an invaluable change of pace back, pulling out some key first downs in some critical games. He rushed 23 times for 105 yards and caught 13 balls for 94 yards.

I created this card of Jonathan, knowing that he and DB Quentin Demps were going to be at a local Academy signing autographs. Jonathan really liked the card and was touched by my kind efforts. Afterwards I talked to one of the PR honchos for the Texans that also liked my work and gave me his business card, but I was really intimidated to contact him back- something that is still on my list.