Cards: Topps XFL 2001, Score 2010 Acquired: TTM 2019, C/o The Chicago Bears Sent: 2/4/19 Received: 4/2/19 (59 days)
Mike Furrey has a very interesting history to his professional football journey. After not being drafted out of Northern Iowa in 2000, he’d sign with the Colts but not make the squad.
Undeterred, he’d join the renegade XFL in 2001, where he’d play wide receiver for the Las Vegas Outlaws. He’d snag 18 catches for 242 yards and a 41 yard TD. As the team’s primary punt returner Mike also returned 11 punts for 94 yards.
After the XFL folded, he’d play for the New York Dragons of the Arena football league, spending two years with them in 2002 and 2003. During both seasons he posted 1000+ yard seasons and display a knack for playing defensive back, intercepting 6 passes. He’d also play for the St. Louis Rams in both of those years as well and oddly enough play both wide receiver and defensive back for the team, posting 21 receptions for 197 yards, and then intercept 4 passes for 143 yards, deflect 8 passes, and return one 67 yards for a TD from free safety.
Obviously Mike’s curious stat lines drew him attention in the open market as he signed with the Detrot Lions in 2006. He’d have his finest season as a WR, with 98 receptions for 1086 yards and 6 TDs in 14 starts, and follow that up in 2007 with 61 receptions for 664 yards and a TD. After a subpar 2008, Mike made a stop with the Cleveland Browns in 2009- where he saw significant time again starting 4 games at WR while moonlighting at safety as well. After the season concluded he joined the Washington Redskins but did not make the squad.
Very soon thereafter, Mike went into college coaching and as of this post in 2019, is the wide receivers coach for the Chicago Bears.
Some very interesting design between these two cards. I love the Score 2010, almost as much as Score 2009. It’s got great color, and the slightly off white helps the image stand off the canvas just a little more. I especially like the use of the designs in the top corners of the card to give it that painted effect. This set felt like a direct heir to the 2009 set that I adore.
The Topps XFL card represented everything gaudy about the Attitude Era that bled from WWE into the XFL. It’s an underused design to have both the player’s face and an action image on the front of the card, but this one pulls it off- albeit just a bit over designed.
Card: ProSet 1991 Acquired: TTM 2018, C/o The New York Jets Sent: 10/1 Received: 12/31 (91 days)
Admittedly, it’s a bit grim when you get a player or coach’s autograph in the mail from them right after they get cut or fired. Case in point- Todd Bowles. He took over Gang Green after Rex Ryan was dismissed from the franchise in 2015. He posted a solid 10-6 record right out of the box that year, but the team did not make the playoffs. Over the next 3 seasons, the Jets failed to rally back into the AFC East race, finishing dead last each year with identical 5-11 records in 2016 and 2017, and a 4-12 mark in 2018.
The franchise hired a new GM and then couldn’t find a quarterback to hitch the team to until the 2018 season. In the meantime they constantly missed on draft choices or had a lack there of and in the 2018 season lost 6 games by less than a TD. Todd was released after the season, but not before he dropped this card in the mail – signing one of two for me. He was quickly snatched up by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for their open defensive coordinator position in 2019 reuniting him with Head Coach Bruce Arians.
Todd has a rich coaching history. Technically a disciple of the Al Groh coaching tree, Todd served at a variety of stops in college before hitting it big in the NFL with the Jets as a secondary coach in 2000. He served as a defensive coordinator and secondary coach in 1997 for Morehouse and in 1998 and 1999 in the same capacity for Grambing State. Bowles joined the Browns in 2001 and remained with the franchise through 2004, eventually becoming the franchise’s secondary coach. He then coached with the Cowboys under Bill Parcells from 2005-2007, again in the secondary, before working with the Dolphins in 2008, where he’d get a taste of head coaching in 2011 going 2-1 as the interim head coach. Todd spent a year with the Eagles, and then in 2013 was the defensive coordinator for the Cardinals, where he enjoyed the most success paired with head coach and offensive guru Bruce Arians. He earned AP Assistant Coach of the Year Honors before embarking on his whirlwind tour of New York.
Amazingly- Todd has a very long playing resume as well. Going undrafted out of Temple in 1986, he signed with the Redskins playing Free Safety with the franchise through 1990- earning one Super Bowl ring. Bowles hopped over the 49ers in 1991 spending one season with the team. He’d then return to the Redskins for two more seasons before heading into coaching.
A 5th round pick of the Orlando Thunder during the WLAFs inaugural positional draft in 1991, Rob Sterling played college ball at Maine. After graduating in 1988, he’d be selected by the Eagles, but spent the entire year on IR. Acquired via plan B by the Jets the following season, he didn’t make the squad, but returned to the Eagles where he saw time on the team’s developmental squad.
Still hungry to play football, Rob signed up with the fledgling Arena Football League, and played for both the Albany Firebirds and the Washington Commandos in 1990. In limited action, Rob had 5 receptions for 50 yards and a TD, and 8 total tackles- playing both ways.
A rangy playmaker with good speed, Rob finished 3rd on the Thunder in Tackles with 43 stops and 9 pass deflections- after sitting out the final game with a knee injury. Rob’s biggest highlight came when he took a lateraled interception 33 yards for a TD against the Raleigh-Durham Skyhawks. He did not return to the league for the 1992 season.
I collaborate with fellow collector Mark (of Marks Signing Bonus) on a semi-regular basis through Sportscollectors.com. He and I send WLAF addresses back and forth of players we have gotten lucky on and while he claims that I am regularly on point, he comes up with some killer finds- including Rob Sterling. Rob originally hails from Jamaica, has got a pretty common name, and went to Maine (of all places), so I pretty much gave up on this one some time ago after doing a ton of research. Thankfully Mark passed this one along to me and Rob autographed this one in roughly 2 weeks.
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.