Tag Archives: topps 1971

Dryer, Fred ‘Hunter’


Cards: Topps 1971, Topps 1976
Acquired: TTM 2017, C/o Work

I think the first time I saw Fred Dryer was during the mid-80s. It was premiere week and CBS was eager to find a competing product to Magnum PI. They cast Fred Dryer as the lead in the TV show Hunter and the rest was history.  As a kid I never really knew about Fred nor was I observant enough to know that he was a former football player, but when I became aware of football and the LA Rams were fast becoming my favorite NFC team, I knew eventually I wanted to get Fred’s autograph.

A first round pick of the New York Giants in 1969 Fred wrecked opposing offensive lines from the start of his career recording 8.5 sacks in his first year from his defensive end position.  Considered a wild man by teammates, Fred lived out of a van and grew out his hair and beard. He even offered to set his hair on fire whenever he scored another TD later in his career.  In 1970, he had 12 sacks and 69 tackles earning his first Pro Bowl honors. After recording 8.5 sacks in 1971, Fred was traded to the New England Patriots for a bevvy of picks. Refusing to report, the Patriots were left with no choice but to deal Fred to the Los Angeles Rams.

During his 1972 season, the Rams used Fred as one of the first situational pass rushers. He’d put up 4.5 sacks. LA started him full time at defensive end the following year and he made history sacking Green Bay quarterback Scott Hunter twice in a game for a safety.  Fred finished with 10 sacks in 1973.  His best season as a pro came in 1975 when he earned another Pro Bowl honor, with 61 tackles, 12 sacks and a 20 yard interception for a TD against the Eagles.

Fred helped the Rams make Super Bowl XIV in 1979. During the season he had a 5 sack game against his former team the Giants, en route to a 10 sack season.  He retired after the 1981 season.  A well decorated member of the NFL, it’s disappointing that Fred has not received a call to the HoF, however during the period he played, sacks and tackles were not an official statistic.

Fred has been a pretty busy TV and film actor since retirement. Before the TV show Hunter made him a star, he was also considered for the TV show Cheers to play the main role of Sam Malone.  In the past few years he’s seen a renaissance of sorts cast in a variety of diverse roles, including a brief appearance on Agents of Shield as Octavian Bloom- a HYDRA leader.

G/GS 176/165     TAC  N/A      SAC  104.0    FUM 20
INT  1     YDS 20      AVG 20.0    TD 1     LG 20T

LeBeau, Dick

Cards: TNT Signature Select, Topps 1971
Acquired: TTM 2017, C/o The Tennessee Titans
Sent: 1/19/17  Received: 1/27/17   (8 days)

To say that Dick LeBeau has a decorated football history would be an understatement. After playing both halfback and defensive back in college, LeBeau was moved to cornerback fulltime when he entered the NFL. Selected by the Cleveland Browns in 1959, LeBeau did not make the squad and was quickly snatched up by the Detroit Lions. The rest is history. The Lions already had an outstanding secondary. LeBeau was icing on the cake. He arguably became one of the best players in Detroit history (at least defensively) recording 62 interceptions for 762 yards and 3 TDs.  He earned 3 ProBowl trips from 1964-1966 and AP in 1964, 1965, and 1970.

Retiring from play after the 72 season, LeBeau immediately jumped into coaching, working as a special teams coach for the Eagles from 1973-1975.  From there he honed his skills as a positional coach with the defensive backs for the Packers (1976-1979) and Bengals (1980-1983). Dick was promoted to defensive coordinator for Cincinnati in 1984- a position he held until 1991.  In 1992 he joined the Steelers as a defensive backs coach, and in 1995 was elevated to defensive coordinator.  LeBeau returned to the Bengals in 1997 and was head coach for the franchise from 2000-2002.  After a brief stay on the Bills in 2003 LeBeau returned to the Steelers as their defensive coordinator from 2004-2014, and then off to the Tennessee Titans as their coordinator where he coaches to this day (2017).  LeBeau was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Pride of the Lions in 2010.

Dick LeBeau is one of the most reliable high profile TTM signers in the hobby today. I think I had taken it for granted for a long time, but I finally decided to take a shot at him in 2017. Part of the reason for my delay was the lack of decent cards of him. Frankly most of the cards that were on the market were quite bad looking, or were just plain expensive. LeBeau’s turnaround was quite quick signing this old beat up Topps card and my custom in about a week flat.

G/GS  N/a    Tac N/a         Sac N/a          Fum N/a
Int   62       Yds   762          Avg  12.2      TD  3     Lg   70t

LeVias, Jerry

to71 jlevias to70 jlevias

Cards: Topps 1970, Topps 1971
Acquired: TTM 2015, C/o Home
Sent:   12/30/15   Received: 1/7/16    (8 days)

Jerry LeVias went on to play in the AFL and NFL, but is also recognized as a pioneer, breaking segregation in the SWC, playing for the SMU Mustangs.  It was not easy for Jerry, as he faced constant harassment.  LeVias made them pay though as he was a 3 time All-SWC selection from 1966-1968. His best year came in 1968 when he caught 80 passes for 1131 yards and 8 touchdowns.  Jerry finished his career at SMU with 155 receptions for 2275 yards and 22 TDs.

In 1969 Jerry was drafted by the Houston Oilers and led the NFL his rookie season in all purpose yards with 1946 yards, and punt returns with 35 for 292 yards. He also chipped in a career high 42 receptions for 696 yards and 5 TDs, including a league leading long 86 yard TD.  Jerry’s 1946 yards consisted of nearly half the team’s total yardage. He’d earn a Pro Bowl trip after the season and Rookie of the Year honors.   In 1970, he finished with 1377 yards from scrimmage, but Jerry was already preparing himself for life after football.

LeVias was traded to the San Diego Chargers in 1971.  He’d have his final season with over a 1000 all purpose yards, but the constant pounding his small frame (5’8″, 165) was taking its toll. Jerry retired after the 1974 season.

As of 2015 Jerry serves as a Houston Texans Ambassador. He’s been honored with inductions into the Gulf Coast Hall of Fame,  College Football Hall of Fame, and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.  A few years ago I went to the Kickoff at Kemah in Houston during a tropical storm. An early rumor placed LeVias at the Texans event, but in the end it was three other ambassadors. I decided to go ahead and shoot some cards out to him instead. Luckily he signed these two classic Topps cards.

G/Gs  70/35     Rec 144    Yds 2139    Avg 14.9    Td 14    Lg 86T
Rush 19   Yds 161   Avg 8.5    Td 0    Lg 38
KR  94      Yds 2213    Avg 23.5    Td 0    Lg 87
PR 35       Yds 687       Avg 7.8       Td 0    Lg 46