Tag Archives: ttm autograph success

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

Perez, Michael “Mike”

Cards: ProSet 1991, ProSet WLAF 1991, Ultimate WLAF 1992, Wild Card WLAF 1992
Acquired: TTM 2012, C/o Work
Sent: 5/29    Received: 6/12  (13 days)

Mike Perez played quarterback for the San Jose Spartans, where he led them to an upset victory over the California Golden Bears, and Stanford Cardinals in 1987. At the time his 309.1 yards of offense a game was an NCAA record. Drafted by the New York Giants in the 7th round of the 1988 draft, Mike did not make the roster as the team only carried quarterbacks Phil Simms and Jeff Hostetler. A stomach injury further sidelined him for the remainder of the year. In 1990, Mike was a camp arm for the Houston Oilers, but found his first initial glory in the pros, as the third overall quarterback taken, playing for the Frankfurt Galaxy of the WLAF in 1991.

Leading the team to a 7-3 record, Mike threw 11 touchdowns to 17 picks, on 357 attempts.  His best contest came against the Orlando Thunder throwing for 346 yards in the team’s win. He also was the second least sacked quarterback in the WLAF behind Stan Gelbaugh. The team though failed to qualify for the playoffs after losing 2 contests to the Surge, and behind both the eventual World Bowl I participants London and Barcelona.  Perez returned stateside to the Giants, and then the Chiefs after the season.

Mike played in the WLAF during the 1992 season for the Galaxy, but met with less success as the team stumbled to a 3-7 record. He’d split time with Alex Espinoza and finished 4th among rated quarterbacks with 6 touchdowns and a 78.2 quarterback rating.

Again he’d spend time stateside as a camp arm- this time for the Denver Broncos in 1993. He’d then embark on a series of adventures in the Arena Football League, playing for the Albany Firebirds from 1994-1996, the New York CityHawks from 1997-1998, finishing out his career with the New England SeaWolves in 1999.ult92 perez His best season came in 1996 for the Firebirds, throwing for 4153 yards and 84 touchdowns. Mike’s career totals for the Arena Football League are 1384 of 2378, for 18875 yards, and 341 touchdowns to 84 interceptions.

Perez returned to his hometown of Denver, and currently works there for the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He graciously signed 5 cards for me and even enclosed a nice note telling me that the memories he holds for the World League are some of the most cherished of his life.

WLAF statistics:
Att 504    Comp 257   Yds 3257    Pct 50.9      Td 19     Int  22