Tag Archives: ttm autograph

Lewis, Darren ‘Tank’

Cards: Star Pics 1991, Action Packed Rookies 1991
Acquired: TTM 2019, C/o Home
Sent: 7/3 Received: 11/25 (145 days)

Darren Lewis was a star tailback for the Texas A&M Aggies. In 1988 he set the school mark with 1692 yards on 306 carries (7 TDs), and then in 1990 miss breaking that mark by just 1 yard. Darren’s 1691 yards and 18 TDs were enough though to help earn him the SWC Player of the Year Honor. He’d cumulatively break the 5k barrier, (5,012 yards) which ranked 5th all time collegiality. Darren also set the school mark for most career TDs with 45. All in all Lewis set 25 school records at A&M.

It’s hard to say how Darren’s career would have ended up if things played out differently, and it’s hard to avoid the elephant in the room when thinking about his career in retrospect- as it was marred by drugs. When I try to write about players, I try to avoid talking about their personal problems, but in this case, it completely derailed Lewis’ future career and earnings. There is no way to avoid it.

-Expected to go early in the 1991 draft, his stock plummeted after he tested positive for cocaine at the combine.

Darren’s stock slid precipitously until he was selected by the Chicago Bears in the 6th round of the NFL Draft. To make matters worse- Bears executives admitted that they thought it was somebody else who they thought tested positive for drugs, and in a last second backpedal, considered not even inviting Darren to minicamp- even though Lewis was already checked into drug rehab.

Darren saw sparing action in 1991 running for just 36 yards behind Neal Anderson. 1992 proved to be the high-water mark in Darren’s NFL career, starting the last 4 games of the season, averaging 22.2 yards on 23 kickoffs, and rushing 90 times for 382 yards and 4 TDs. He also added 18 receptions for 175 yards as well for a grand total of 557 yards from scrimmage.

After a frustratingly slow start to Darren’s 1993 season under new head coach Dave Wannstedt, Darren was arrested for domestic dispute. The team had enough, and after 33 NFL games, Darren’s time with Chicago came to a thudding close. He had a tryout for the Cardinals but opted to return home to Dallas and retired.

Darren has struggled continued to struggle with his demons. He lost a lot of things along the way including his wife and house. Currently Darren is serving a 27 year sentence after pleading guilty to three counts of interference with commerce by robbery and one count of brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.

I sent to a home address that I had for Darren, and after about 3-4 months I got a response back. The postmark was from Shreveport- where I’d assume he’s being housed in federal prison.

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Rozier, Mike (2)

Cards: Score 1990, Action Packed 1990, Upper Deck Legends 1997, Panini Contenders 2018
Acquired: 2012 Akron Acquisition, TTM 2019, C/o Home
Sent: 1/15/19 Received: 1/22/19 (7 days)
See Also: Mike Rozier

Slowly I had been working my way back around to Mike after about a 9 year layoff or so. I had been sold the Score 1990 card as part of a big lot of cards from the Akron Acquisition- so I needed a few more to fill out the ranks. Mike is another one of these players I didn’t want to see in his other NFL uniform (Falcons in this case). He still had some great Oilers cards I wanted to get signed- and once I got the Upper Deck 1997 card -in 2018, I made the decision to write him again. To seal the deal I also pulled this Panini Contenders card of him and put it aside for send out since I’ve gotten a few autographs recently around that set.

High grades for his Legends card from Upper Deck. Love the sports photography and how its got that nice action blur in the background. Far too often I’ve noticed photos where the people in the background are clear as day and distract from the player. In this case- this photo feels like a training or mini camp shot. I think the bushy trees give it away. Still, it’s a nice piece.

Mike’s Action Packed 1990 card is okay. I think it’s typical of AP at that time with that distance of framing images, but in this case, I feel like the image should’ve been pulled back a bit. Was Mike diving for a TD? Reaching out from a pile? Struggling to get back to the line of scrimmage? The design like all AP from 90 was simple and elegant however.

The Score 1990 set was a letdown from 89. I mean nothing could top what they did in that first set. The design here is nice, but the bordering with the logo is a bit heavy. The neon green marquee feels a bit unnecessary and forced. I kept wondering, “What does purple have to do with the Oilers?” It’s a decent action shot but I question Mike’s sense of dress as his thermal shirt sleeves are quite dated.

No question the Panini Contenders Draft Picks set has grown on me over the last… year or so. While I find it a bit over designed it’s a set that has a good selection of names in it. This shot however of Mike is terrible. He just looks like he’s jogging off the field to the sidelines.

Warfield, Paul

Cards: Topps 1970, Upper Deck Legends 1997, Crown Royale 2010
Acquired: TTM 2019, C/o Home*
Sent: 3/23 Received: 4/2 (10 days)
Failure: TTM 2018, C/o Home
* donation required/ Do not use this address

Hall of Fame WR Paul Warfield has been on my radar for sometime. I finally got these great cards together with the required donation sent his way in 2018- but was dismayed to find out that he was no longer signing TTM. I got a form letter informing me that I had to contact his agent who then had a fee schedule. After the agent never responded to me- I gave up on Paul until I saw a few responses come back from his home address again in early 2019. Annoyed, I went ahead and penned a new letter, enclosed the cards, and the signing fee/donation.

Roughly a month later I got a note from Paul with all my cards autographed, and a check reimbursement for the money order. In the note he indicated that he was between signing schedules with his agent, and he would honor my request, and refund my donation. I was pretty floored. It was very nice of him and I felt a bit odd having a check in my hand from a HoFer but there it was. Not only is his signature unique, Paul’s handwriting is wispy elegance.

By late April of 2019, Paul had gone ahead and signed with an agent again. I had gotten very lucky hitting him in that window as his fee/donation schedule had more than doubled. Warfield no longer accepts fan mail at his home address anymore. -Save your postage and contact his agent instead.

Paul Warfield played college ball at Ohio State from 1961 through 1963. He carried the ball 196 times for 1047 yards and 8 TDs, and contributed 39 receptions for 525 yards and 3 TDs over his time at Columbus.

Selected in the 1st round by the Cleveland Browns in 1964- Cleveland saw potential in Warfield initially as a defensive back, but later in camp converted him to wide receiver instead. Paul went on to put up some truly amazing numbers over his career with the Browns. In his first 6 seasons with the team, he finished 3 of those seasons averaging more than 21 yards a catch, lead the NFL in receiving TDs in 1968 (12), and was named to 3 Pro Bowls.
In a shocker Paul was traded on draft day 1970 to the Miami Dolphins for a first round pick.

Paul played the next 5 seasons for the ‘Fins. Undeterred Warfield was named the Pro Bowl every year he was with the team, and All-Pro in both 1971 and 1973. He’d average a career high 25.1 yards per catch in 1970, and then in 71 lead the NFL with 11 TDs. After the 1974 season concluded, Paul signed with the upstart WFL Memphis Southmen.

After limping through the 1975 season, the WFL folded, and Paul heard the siren’s call and returned to Cleveland. He played two final seasons there, retiring in 1978.

Paul was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983. He is also a member of the Dolphins Honor Roll and the Cleveland Browns Ring of Honor. He’s done a variety of things since then including sportscasting and working for the Browns in the front office, but is currently retired and enjoying life living in California.

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