Tag Archives: ttm autograph

Witkowski, John

Card: ProSet 1991
Acquired: TTM 2010, C/o home
Sent: 10/16    Received: 11/1  (17 days)

Drafted in 1984 draft in the 6th round by the Detroit Lions out of Columbia, John Witkowski was an offensive juggernaut for the Ivy League school setting numerous passing and Ivy league records. John would make the final roster of the Lions that year passing for 210 yards on 34 attempts but wouldn’t make the roster in 1985. He’d remain on the radar of the NFL however, signing with the Houston Oilers in 1986 as a strike player backing up Brent Pease playing for the team through 1987 before heading back to the Lions for 1988. Witkowski in the meantime began pursuing a career in financial services and continued to remain in playing shape after 1988.

In 1991, the World League of American Football invited John to workout, and the London Monarchs liked him so much they drafted him in the league’s positional draft. He’d play in one season in the league and throw two touchdowns. A little known fact about Witkowski is that he was the starting quarterback for the Monarchs on opening day of 1991, but yielded the job to Stan Gelbaugh (who was picked up later by the Monarchs in the Supplemental Draft) during the first game of the season.  John would play in a bit more garbage time, but he wouldn’t see anymore starting time for the team after that.  Witkowski since retiring has continued to be involved in financial management and climbed the ranks into being an executive vice president for the Five Star Bank Corporation and has done quite well.

ProSet made this card along with 31 other player cards in 1991 to promote the league and its upcoming WLAF set. They took a gamble that the players that they selected for cards would perhaps be marquee players as well. This would be the only card that was made of John, but it’s a nice one, and would appear on the cover of the WLAF magazine available for purchase at the games. John would write me back, “Thanking me for bringing back some great memories and for taking the time to build this site.” What a nice guy. Below are his WLAF statistics.

G/Gs 10/1    Att 40    Comp 23     Yds 232     Pct 57.5%    Td 2   Int 2    Rat 70.0

Hébert, Bobby “The Cajun Cannon”

Cards: Fleer 1990, ProSet 1989, Stadium Club 1992, Action Packed 1992
Acquired: TTM 2010, C/o Home
Sent: 10/15   Received: 11/1  (17 days)

I don’t know what it is about small town Louisiana, but it seems to be the cornucopia of NFL quarterback talent and Bobby Hébert (pronounced A-bear,) is another great example of that- born in Cut Off, LA. Nicknamed the “Cajun Cannon”, he’d be recruited to go to Northwestern State- Louisiana in Natchitoches and would be taken in the 3rd round (34th pick) of the upstart USFL’s initial draft in 1983 by the Michigan Panthers. Things were be rough there as Bobby would initially compete with 13 quarterbacks during that initial training camp.  Once things settled down however, Hébert established himself as one of the elite players of the young league throwing to future Minnesota Viking Anthony Carter. That year Bobby won the USFL Championship and he would take home the MVP honors beating the Philadelphia Stars. Along with those honors Hébert won player of the year honors and was voted the most outstanding quarterback of the league (3568 yards  and 27 touchdowns). The team again made the playoffs in 1984 but with injuries plaguing the defensive line, they’d be knocked out of the playoffs in the first round. In 1985, with the league experiencing financial issues, the Panthers found themselves merged with the Oakland Invaders, however they returned to the championship game losing in the end to the Philadelphia Stars. Bobby finished as the league’s career leading passer with over 10,000 yards.

After the USFL folded, Bobby was a man without a team- but he wouldn’t have to look long as former Stars coach Jim Mora who was stockpiling former USFL players and brought him into camp with the Saints. Hébert and Mora went head to head over the next animated 7 seasons for the team, as Bobby was always struggling to garner the respect he deserved with Dave Wilson, John Fourcade, or Steve Walsh (after an acrimonious holdout in 1990,) always looking over Bobby’s shoulder during his tenure there with the Saints. Bobby in fact would guide the Saints to their first playoff appearance and their first divisional title under his clock management sporting a 49-26 career record as starting quarterback of the Saints. After a great 1992 season, free agency dawned and Hébert signed with the rival Atlanta Falcons in 1993, where he’d see his lone ProBowl appearance. He’d play there for the next 4 seasons, with 1994 and 1995 being primarily mopup duty. In 1996 he replaced Jeff George and started the majority of the season under coach June Jones, retiring after the season ended.

Bobby since then has done a lot of sports radio commentary, conducting fireworks shows, and was the Grand Marshall for the Mardi Gras parade in 2007- apparently being quite the man of the party. Bobby played for the rival Saints when I was a big fan of the Rams in the late 80’s and early 90’s. I always respected him and felt that Jim Mora restricted Bobby because of Mora’s offensive philosophy. He didn’t force the ball or make many turnovers and was a great clock manager. I even had his Starting Lineup figure. Strangely, the pronunciation of Bobby’s last name would even be a topic of conversation on an episode of Seinfeld.

Hébert for some reason in many of his photos is always pitching the ball out or rolling back from center on his cards. While they were dynamic looking poses, I had to struggle to locate a good selection of different looks. I like to ask questions of many of the players that I try to get autographs from, and I was really excited to get a response from Bobby. He wrote that his greatest memory was “Definitely winning the USFL championship and the MVP honors!” He gleefully signed all 4 of my cards and both sides of my Action Packed 1992 card in 17 days. Below are Bobby’s NFL statistics.

G/Gs 122/100       Att 3121      Comp 1839     Yds  21683     Pct 58.9    Td 135     Int 124     Rat 78.0

Brown, Steve

Cards: Fleer 1990, ProSet 1989
Acquired: TTM 2010, C/o The Kentucky Wildcats
Sent: 3/26        Received: 4/24  (28 days)

Drafted in the third round of the 1983 draft by the Houston Oilers, Steve Brown was considered an excellent fit for their primarily man to man defense. He’d get off to a good start in 1983 on special teams, averaging 25.6 yards per kick return and return one 93 yards for a touchdown.  He’d also get 1 interception and 2 fumble recoveries starting 10 games.  Steve played during some of the leaner years of the Oilers’ existence as a franchise, up and through the Jerry Glanville era. In both 1985 and 1989 Steve pulled down a career high 5 interceptions.  In 1990 the team went in another direction at cornerback, and while Steve suited up, he would start no games for the team and retired.

In 1995 Brown was hired as an assistant coach for the St. Louis Rams. He’d coach the cornerbacks in 1996-1997 and then the complete secondary from 1998-2000 where the team won the Superbowl. He is considered an apostle of the Dick Vermeil coaching tree.  Brown left the Rams, and in 2003 was hired by Kentucky University.  In 2007 he was promoted to defensive coordinator, where Steve installed an aggressive defense. The defensive unit responded well by improving and flourishing across the board.

G/Gs  119/96   Tac  N/a  Sac 5  Fum 5  Int 18  Yds  264  Td 1   Lg 44