Tag Archives: ttm autographs

Mitchell, Brian

Cards: ProSet 1990, ProSet 1991, GameDay 1992
Acquired: TTM 2011, C/o home
Sent:  4/25    Received: 5/5  (10 days)

Brian Mitchell was a quarterback originally at Southwest Louisiana. An amazing athlete, he owned virtually all the quarterback records when he left the college and was the first NCAA player to throw for over 5,000 yards and rush for over 3,000 in their career. After graduating from college, he was drafted in the 5th round of the 1990 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. The Redskins were deep at quarterback so the team decided they’d throw him back there as a return specialist, runningback, and as emergency quarterback. Brian would rack up the return yardage playing for the Redskins through 1999. An electric returner, Mitchell led the league in punt return yards with 600 in 1991,  and was a ProBowl selection in 1995 for the team. In 10 seasons with the Redskins Brian left holding virtually all the Redskins special teams records, racking up over 16,000 yards from scrimmage and 7 punt returns for touchdowns.  After leaving the team, he’d play for the Eagles from 2000-2002 and continued his assault on the record books, setting a league record at the time with 206 kick return yards in a single game.  Brian would play one final season for the New York Giants in 2003, before retiring as a member of the Redskins.

When I initially started this project, Brian was one of the players that I really wanted to honor. Incredibly upon retirement, Mitchell was ranked 2nd all time in yards from scrimmage, had 4 seasons of over 2000 yards, and holds the NFL records for kick returns (607), combined return yards (19013), punt return yards (4999), career kickoff return yards (14014), career fair catches (231), fair catches in a season (33), and punt returns (463). Still most people are unaware of the legacy Mitchell left upon the game and he probably won’t see the Hall of Fame, because of the lack of respect for special teamers. In the meantime, he was inducted into the Redskins Hall of Honor in 2009, works on his foundation (Brian Mitchell Foundation), and has been involved in broadcasting. I was pleased to get Brian’s autograph in 10 days flat from his home in Louisiana.

Great cards of Brian here. ProSet really did their homework and had a card of him before the end of his rookie season in their 1990 update set which was far and ahead of anything anybody produced by at least a year.  Oddly he’d appear in both of Pro Set’s 1990 and 1991 update as the last card in each set. (Sure there were additional inserts after him, but he was the last actual player card.) Mitchell was pretty decent in the first Tecmo Super Bowl, but by Final Edition, he was a dangerous threat in the game. Much like Mel Gray, Brian was a threat to return the kickoff every time he touched the ball and the secret to utilizing him correctly was basically to put him in the starting lineup.

G/Gs 223/16      Rush 388     Yds  1967      Avg  5.1     Td  12     Lg 85t   |
Rec  255      Yds  2336       Avg 9.2      Td  4       Lg 69  |
Kr  607   Yds   14014    Avg  23.1     Td   4       Lg   101t  |
Pr  463     Yds   4999     Avg  10.8     Td   9       Lg  84t

Koonce, George

Card: Ultimate WLAF 1992
Acquired: TTM 2011, C/o Home
Sent: 4/14 Received: 4/22 (8 days)
Failure: 4/27/2010 TTM 2010, C/o University of Milwaukee

George Koonce went undrafted out of college from the University of East Carolina in 1992 after an amazing career at the Junior College level.  He signed with Jerry Glanville‘s Falcons, but was waived during the preseason.

Undeterred Koonce was selected by the Ohio Glory of the World League of American Football in 1992.  He started at linebacker making 2.5 sacks for the team during the season. Afterwards Koonce would immediately sign with the Green Bay Packers where he’d play all 3 positions at linebacker in the team’s 4-3 alignment over the next 8 seasons. Although injured for the team’s Super Bowl appearance, Koonce was a solid pickup by the Packers and was competent in coverage, making a career high 3 interceptions for 84 yards and a touchdown in 1996. After the 1999 season, Koonce  would sign with the Seattle Seahawks in 2000, where he made 1 pick for 27 yards and a touchdown to cap off his career.  At the conclusion of George’s NFL career he managed to rack up 720 tackles, 9 sacks, 5 picks, and 2 TDs in 118 starts. Pretty darn good for a World League of American Football player!

Since retirement George has been inducted into the ECU Pirates Hall of Fame and earned his master’s degree in Sports Management. He also has a foundation for underprivileged children and has served in the front office of the Packers, Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

I had previously attempted to contact him for his autograph through the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee but he had already left the college and it is assumed that those cards are lost. I saw that he had signed a few cards recently through the mail and through Sportscollectors.net so I gave his home address a shot. He responded in 8 days.

Koonce is a WLAF success story, (much like Tracey Simien, Doug Pedersen or Chris Mohr,) George was one of the original players who had a long and tenured career in the NFL that directly benefited from his involvement with the World League.  This Ultimate 1992 card is technically (for all points and purposes) his rookie card and his card photo was taken at the Riders/ Glory preseason game in 1992. Not one of my favorite cards. I mean couldn’t they have gotten him in a 2 point stance or cropped this photo differently.

G/Gs N/a   Tac N/a   Sac 2.5   Fum 0   Int  0   Yds  0    Avg -.-   Td 0  Lg -.-

Williams, Byron

Cards: ProSet WLAF 1991 LL, ProSet WLAF 1991, ProSet WLAF TC 1991, Ultimate WLAF 1992, Wild Card WLAF 1992
Acquired: TTM 2011, C/o Work
Sent: 4/8    Received: 4/14   (6 days)

Byron Williams is a player I’ve been trying to track down since the beginning of this insane project, so I was really happy to locate him and get in touch with him via email about signing these cards. In the end it worked out really nicely, as he signed these cards in a short 6 days. He also included information about his football camps “The Timeout Guys”.

After being taken out of Texas-Arlington in the 10th round of the 1983 draft by the Green Bay Packers, Byron would see time on the roster of the Eagles before finally getting some playing time with the New York Giants that season.  (Incredibly fast, Williams ran a 4.23 40 and 10.13 in the 100 during college.) Playing in 5 games he’d make 20 catches for 346 yards and a touchdown his rookie season.  In his sophomore campaign he’d make 24 receptions for 471 yardspset91wl by williams LL and 2 touchdowns, averaging a sizzling 19.6 yards a reception including a 65 yard grab.  In the season opener against the Eagles he pulled down a career high 5 catches for 167 yards and a touchdown to help the Giants win 28-27.  Given the opportunity to start 5 games in 1985, Williams would make 15 receptions for 280 yards.

He’d head North in 1987 to the CFL and play for the British Columbia Lions and the Ottawa Rough Riders in 1989.

Byron Williams would be drafted in the 3rd round of the supplemental draft by the Orlando Thunder of the WLAF in 1991. At 6’1″, 178, Byron provided a big and fast veteran target for quarterback Kerwin Bell in the spread/ run ‘n shoot offense of the Orlando Thunder. Byron would also provide a barometer of leadership for the team,- at 30 he was one of the oldest players in the league.

He’d split the scoring title in 1991 with Eric Wilkerson (Knights)ult92 by williams after he made 11 touchdown receptions on the season. I remember the league season opener when he made 3 touchdown grabs against a beleaguered San Antonio secondary.  He’d end up with 113 yards on 4 catches, with touchdown grabs of 23, 37, and 42 in the Thunder’s 35-34 win. Williams would make also 2 touchdown receptions against the Skyhawks the next week and the Machine in the final game of the season.  Byron in fact was the primary beneficiary of quarterback Kerwin Bell’s touchdown passes and finished second in the league in receiving yardage with 811 yards in 1991 after scoring in 7 out of 10 games.  He’d be named to first team All-World Honors following the season.

He’d return to the CFL after the 1991 season and play for the Saskatchewan Roughriders from 1991-1993, but playing his 1992 summer in the WLAF. Byron, like Stan Gelbaugh would be involved in a dispute over contract rights between the World League and the CFL /NFL (,much like the one involving the fees the UFL is requiring the NFL to pay for the conditional release of a player).

wcard92wl by williamsThe Thunder meanwhile would stock up on wide receivers in the off season and trade Williams to the New York New Jersey Knights. In limited action Byron would grab 11 receptions for 166 yards and a touchdown before the WLAF reorganized after the 1992 season. In the meantime Byron would play 1993 with the Roughriders.

In 1994 CFL expanded southward into the United states. Byron would sign with the Baltimore Colts that season and play through 1995 earning a Grey Cup championship and retiring after the season.

Byron has remained active in football, running his own business (BW Sports, TimeOut Guys) and is a big proponent of giving back through teaching and coaching young fans and athletes in football. Williams’ camps are considered amongst the elite for training young athletes and they not only provide training but venues for young athletes and fans to meet former and current players. Byron has also spent time working with the American Youth Football organization and gives an immense amount of time to charity. Below are his WLAF statistics.

G/Gs N/a    Rec  70    Yds   977    Avg 14.0    Td  12    Lg  46t