Quan Cosby was a bonus at the Boot City event in Bastrop. I always pack a couple of extra cards for whomever stops in and Quan had to come out to support Colt, Fozzy, and Jordan. The weekend before the XFL had announced that it was returning for 2020. I was pretty juiced about it and Quan and I talked about it for a few minutes. We agreed that it was important that the league actually put a team in Texas this time if they wanted to succeed, and they also needed to not be identified as a footnote in the ‘NFL’ section. Part of the problem is the NFL is so successful, no matter what happens in any other football league, the media just squeezes it in at the bottom of the NFL sports page. This is in part due to the fact that NFL has become synonymous with football.
A former baseball player in the minor leagues and a lover of the sport, Quan has added baseball to his announcing duties, along with sideline reporting at football games for the University of Texas.
Starting to run out of cards for Quan, but I guess that’s a good thing as he signs most things for fans. I liked the Upper Deck Icons card a lot. Its got a nice balance to it and the color is great. The Playoff Prestige? Meh. It’s okay, but the card seems a bit over designed.
Larry Johnson was a star runningback for the Penn State Nittany Lions in 2002. He was a virtuoso out of the backfield, both catching and running for the team and truly was a man among the boys. He’d carry the ball 271 times for 2087 yards and 20 TDs- for a hefty 7.7 yards per carry clip. He’d also catch 41 passes for 349 yards and 3 more scores. He’d finish 3rd in Heisman voting that year behind Iowa QB Brad Banks and USC QB Carson Palmer.
In what was considered to be a weak runningback crop, Larry was selected 27th overall during the 2002 NFL Draft, and was the second RB off the board- after Willis McGahee.
The Chiefs have been going through a renaissance of sorts at runningback over the last 20 years or so. It pretty much started when Priest Holmes jumped into the lead role in Kansas City in 2001. After 3-4 years of solid production with a few games here and there, it was time for Larry to go from being the most solid injury insurance handcuff, to the lead back in KC.
Larry began to assert himself as the lead back in 2005. He’d earn his first of 2 Pro Bowl berths, with 336 carries for 1750 yards, and 20 TDs. Johnson also had 33 receptions for 343 yards and a TD. In 2006, Larry actually topped those numbers, leading the NFL in touches (457) and carries (416- an NFL record), run for 1789 yards and 17 TDs while catching 41 passes for 410 yards and 2 TDs. While Larry did not see the same heavy workload the rest of his career, he’d rush for 559 yards in an injury plagued campaign in 2007, and 874 yards in 2008.
After an acrimonious 2009, Larry was cut midway through the season and finished the year on the roster of the Cincinnati Bengals with 581 yards on 178 carries. During the journeyman phase of his career, Larry spent time on the rosters of the Redskins (2010) and the Miami Dolphins (2011), before finally deciding to retire.
After Curt Warner’s run for glory in Seattle, Penn State had a really bad run of backs come out in the first round who just didn’t make the cut. DJ Dozier, Blair Thomas, Ki-Jana Carter, and Curtis Enis come straight to mind. It wasn’t until 2005, when LJ had his first impact season, that the ‘Penn St Curse’ of runningbacks to come out of college to the pros was lifted.
Johnson has had multiple brushes with the law, possibly due to CTE, as he fits all the hallmarks for the disease. Larry’s done some articles and been interviewed about it- and I feel absolutely terrible for him. I wrote him back in 2014, but did not get a response. This time around he signed these cards pretty promptly.
These are some great cards of Larry that I really liked. The Pacific, while very plain looking is classy and elegant. Upper Deck assumed stewardship of the brand in its final days and really sent them out on a nice, high note. The Upper Deck 2009 has clear and strong photography. The framing and color feels like it was inspired by the Upper Deck Legends 1997 set. – And of course, I can never get enough of the Score 2009 set. It just could’ve used a little sports photo blur on the background, as the expression of that guy with the Patriots sweater on is a bit distracting.
Cards: Upper Deck 2009, Score 2010 Acquired: In Person 2018, AAF San Antonio Commanders Season Ticket Holders Party
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever expect to even come close to picking up one of the greatest modern day NFL safeties and Pittsburgh Steeler legends Troy Polamalu- but here we are. I mean again, like in the past, one of the greatest pieces of advice that I can give a fellow collector, is: When you go to in person events, plan ahead by bringing cards of who you know will be there- and who you think might be there.
The second piece of advice I can give you is do your research and participate in the discourse of knowledge about the subject you are interested in. In this case, I participated heavily on the AAF boards and was made aware of the fact that a bold tapestry of many former players line the league’s offices with experience and knowledge. I thought maybe, just maybe since this was a big event, that the league would send down one of the player personnel to the celebration. I packed a box of cards for the players, and the executives and made my way to the event.
When the event began, Troy was seated on stage with the players and executives. I immediately recognized him based on his flowing mane. – Sure who wouldn’t right? I slipped out some cards and calmly bode my time. After the event concluded I waited in the picture line and kindly asked him for an autograph or two. I think Troy was both surprised and impressed that somebody had some cards of him at the event. His eyes lit up briefly and he smiled as he signed. I exchanged pleasantries with him about the new league and how excited I was, and then wished him luck. I’m not much for photos or selfies. The autograph was enough for me to regale in memory about.
Over a 12 year career, Troy Polamalu established himself as one of the greatest strong safeties to ever play the game. Drafted in the first round of 2003 by the Pittsburgh Steelers out of USC, Troy was a headhunter in the secondary, who had a nose for the ball with 46 career takeaways (32 interceptions, 14 forced fumbles), and 770 combined tackles. Polamalu was named to the Pro Bowl 8 times, All-Pro in 4 seasons, NFL Defensive Player of the year (2010), and won two Super Bowl Championships. He’d also earn honors as a member of the Steelers All-Time Team, and the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team.
Troy retired after the 2014 season and decided to focus on his family. In 2018, he was named the head of player relations for the fledgling Alliance of American Football, however that folded during 2019.
Late in the AAF season, the league brought out Topps cards of Troy, but with these two signed, I’m happy to close the books right where they are without the executive card signed.
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.