Tag Archives: ttm autograph success

Barrow, Micheal

Cards: ProSet 1993, GameDay 1993
Acquired: TTM 2016, C/o Home
Sent: 5/24/16             Received: 10/2/17  (420 days)
Failure: 2010, C/o University of Miami

Micheal Barrow played for the Miami Hurricanes in college.  A fearsome and instinctive linebacker, Micheal posted 420 combined tackles, 7 sacks, and 3 interceptions for 5 years, earning first-team All-America Honors in 1992.

New defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan wanted some new blood and speed at the linebacker position in Houston.  He made smarmy remarks about incumbent MLB Al Smith being too big and slow after watching film of the previous season.  Micheal was actually a surprise selection by the Oilers in the 2nd round of the 1993 NFL Draft. The team was bursting at talent at linebacker with Joe Bowden, Lamar Lathon, Eddie Robinson, Smith, and free agent signee Wilber Marshall.

During his rookie year he’d hone his skills behind Al Smith at middle linebacker- who had no intention of giving up his spot. The Oilers acknowledged as much and moved Barrow to RLB in 1994. He’d play for the Oilers through the 1996 season.  Micheal’s most complete season in Houston occurred that year as he posted 67 tackles, 6 sacks, and 4 forced fumbles.

Micheal signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Carolina Panthers in 1997.  He picked up right where he left off in Houston recording 68 tackles, 8.5 sacks (career high), and 3 forced fumbles. After solid play through the 1999 season, Micheal signed with the New York Giants as a free agent.

Among the pantheon of free agent signings in the history of the franchise, Barrow’s signing wasn’t met with much fanfare, however he’d go down as one of Big Blue’s most savvy moves. Plugging Barrow in at middle linebacker, Micheal played 5 strong seasons in NY. His best season for the franchise came in 2003 when he posted a career high 109 tackles.  After a knee injury ended his one and done season with the Redskins before it even began, Barrow played 2 games in 2005 with the Dallas Cowboys before retiring.

Micheal quickly went into coaching scaling the high school ranks and landing at his Alma Mater Miami where he was linebackers coach for the Hurricanes from 2007-2013.  In 2015, Micheal joined Pete Carroll’s staff in Seattle as the team’s linebacker’s coach, and in 2017 was promoted to assistant head coach to keep potential suitors away.

Finally, another mythic Houston Oiler down. I had tried Barrow way back in 2010 via the Hurricanes, but failed miserably.  This request too, I had given up hope on, but after a very long wait, Micheal signed these two cards for me via the Seahawks.

G/GS  172/153      TAC  1125     SAC 43.0      FUM  22
INT 2       YDS 17        AVG  8.5     TD  0       LG  10

 

Welker, Wes ‘The Natural’

Card: Score 2009
Acquired: TTM 2016, C/o Home
Sent:  5/23    Received:   6/4     (12 days)

Wes Welker was a prolific slot man that played in the NFL from 2004-2015. Going undrafted out of Texas Tech in 2004, Welker had developed quite a reputation as a stellar return man and do-it-all offensive weapon for the Red Raiders, tying an NCAA record with 8 punt returns for touchdowns.

Welker signed with the San Diego Chargers, but was cut after the first game of the season to make room for another player. He’d catch on with the Dolphins who used him on kick and punt return duties. It’s there he’d burn the New England Patriots who took note of his unique skillset. As the anemic Dolphin offense continued to struggle, Welker went from being on the chopping block, to becoming the life blood of the offense. Opting not to resign Wes initially after the 2006 season, Welker became a restricted free agent.  That’s when the Patriots pounced.

Offering the required 2nd round tender, New England stripped their bitter rival of their best offensive weapon. Wes went on to become quarterback Tom Brady’s most reliable target. Over the next 6 seasons, Wes racked up 672 receptions for 7459 yards and 37 touchdowns- including a 99 yarder. In 5 of those seasons he had 110+ receptions, leading the league three times in 2007 (112), 2009 (123), and 2011 (122).  From 2008-2012 Welker earned ProBowl honors, with his 2009 and 2011 seasons earning him All Pro.

Facing a quandary after the 2013 season, the Patriots were unable to come to terms with Welker to keep him in New England. To top things off, he signed with the newly retooled Denver Broncos to be Peyton Manning‘s go to guy, but Wes got the concussion bug.

You see the NFL had decided to finally take a more aggressive stance on the issue, and Welker’s size and fearlessness in the slot lent him to take shots regularly to the head. He’d play the 2013 and 2014 seasons for the Broncos and a final swan song for the St. Louis Rams in 2015. Although he didn’t want to retire, most teams saw his injury proneness as a liability, so in a sense Wes was forced to retire.

In 2017, Welker returned to the NFL scene. He was quickly courted by the Houston Texans during the Senior Bowl in Mobile and named as an offensive assistant where he is reunited with his former coach Bill O’Brien and a host of other former Patriots. It is thought that at this time he will provide assistance coaching the Texans’ wide receiver corps and break down film.

When I saw that Wes Welker was signing via a few websites I follow that track autograph returns from players, I didn’t hesitate at quickly sending him out two of my favorite cards- Score 2009, and Donruss Rookies & Stars 2009 Gold. Now,  I did only get the Score 2009 back and Wes personalized it, but I always point out that personalization doesn’t bother me, and that I am happy getting one rather than none. Maybe he really liked that Donruss Rookies & Stars 2009 as much as I did!

G/GS 175/102    REC 903     YDS 9925    AVG 11.0    TD 50    LG 99T
KR  183     YDS 4138      AVG 22.6   TD 1   LG 95T
PR 264      YDS 2584      AVG 9.8       TD 0   LG 71

Dean, Fred (DE/LB)

Cards: Upper Deck Legends 1997, Topps 1979
Acquired: TTM 2016, C/o Home
Sent:  7/11   Received:  7/18   (7 days)*
* Donation enclosed

Fred Dean was a rangy linebacker from Louisiana Tech (392 tackles) that was drafted in the second round of the 1975 NFL draft by the San Diego Chargers. He was converted to defensive end and set his sights on terrorizing quarterbacks in the AFC West. His best season for the Chargers occurred in 1978 when he recorded an unoffical 15.5 sacks. A core member of the ‘Bruise Brothers’, Fred played for the Chargers through the 1981 season, where he was traded during the season to the San Fransisco 49ers.  He served notice to the league by helping the 49ers win Superbowl XVI as the final cornerstone to San Fransisco’s defensive front. To top things off he also was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year. During 1983, Dean single-handedly humiliated the New Orleans Saints to the tune of 6 sacks, en route to a season high 17 sack season.  He retired after the 1985 season and returned to his native Louisiana.

The awards have slowly but steadily trickled in for Fred since then, with LA Tech honoring him in 1990, the Pro Football Hall of Fame honoring him in 2008, and finally the College Football Hall of Fame in 2019. A fearsome force, one must wonder if the accolades as a premiere defender would have come quicker to Dean if sacks were recognized earlier as a statistic in the annals of NFL history.  He redefined the role of a pass rusher, helped modernize defenses, and be among the first situational pass rushers late in his career. Fred is also one of the rare players who has been recognized by two different teams as part of their anniversary teams. Such as the case it is hard to decide if Dean is represented better as a member of the Chargers or 49ers.

G/GS 141/82        TAC         SAC   93.0      FUM 13
INT 1         YDS 22         AVG 22.0         LG 22T        TD 1