Tag Archives: upper deck houston texans 2002

Boselli, Tony

udmvp02 tboselliCards: Upper Deck 2002 MVP, Upper Deck Inaugural Houston Texans 2002
Acquired: 2012, C/o Home
Sent:   3/25/2012      Received: 7/28/16  (1586 days)

Wow. Tony Boselli really made me wait on this one, signing 2 cards in almost 1600 days.  You have to hand it to the mailman. Just as you think they are stealing your mail, you get a long shot wait like this one.

Tony Boselli was the anchor of the Jacksonville Jaguar franchise at left tackle. He was their first draft choice in 1995, and quickly established a reputation as one of the finest linemen in the NFL. A very popular player during his tenure in Jacksonville, he provided a much needed face and leader to the young franchise as it matured under Tom Coughlin’s watch. A 5 time Pro Bowler from 1996-2000, and 3 time All Pro from 1997-1999, Boselli was named to the 1990’s All Decade NFL Team. He’d sign a massive, new contract with the Jaguars, but by 2001 the injuries and weightlifting had caught up with him.  It was possible that Tony’s bad shoulder might end his career.

Facing salary cap hell, the Jaguars made Tony available for the Houston Texans Expansion Draft in 2002. The deal was, if the Texans took Boselli’s massive contract hit, they’d leave NT Seth Payne and DE Gary Walker on the table for the Texans to draft as well.  For the Texans, the risk was Boselli might never be able to return form and Houston  would have to absorb his salary cap hit.  It seemed that the benefits outweighed the risk, so the Texans selected Boselli first overall during the expansion draft. He’d be the first and only player in the history of the league selected first by two expansion franchises.  The Texans immediately trotted Tony out as an ambassador of the franchise. He’d appear in numerous photoshoots and in pads touting the young Texans franchise, but as time and seasons passed, it became more and more obvious that Boselli was not going to see the field again.

He’d retire from football in 2004 or 2005,  and sign a one day contract to retire as a Jaguar in 2006, and joined the Pride of the Jaguars Hall of Fame. While Tony has been nominated numerous times as a preliminary candidate for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he never made it past the first round until 2016 where he made it to the final round.  Perhaps due to his injury history, short career, playing for a smaller market, and at a relatively unglamorous position, has kept Boselli out of the Hall at this point, but in the meantime that has not slowed him down any.

A humanitarian at heart, Tony has his own charitable organization, and gives back to the community primarily in the Jacksonville area. He coaches football and does color commentary as well and was a minority owner at one point of the Austin Wranglers of the Arena Football League.  A savvy businessman, he owns some local Whataburger franchises, and a marketing company.

G/GS   91/90

Wong, Kailee

udht02 kwongCards: Upper Deck Houston Texans Inaugural Season 2002, Topps 2005
Acquired: 2016, Texans Academy Tailgating Kickoff

As I slowly make my way through the team set, I had targeted Kailee Wong when I had heard he was a member of the Texans’ Ambassador Program. It’s usually a shot in the dark showing up at the events so even though I had gotten teammate Seth Payne sometime ago, it was still worth it to go to Katy to nab Kailee on these cards. Like most former Texans, Wong was impressed with his Houston Texans Upper Deck card. While signing he asked how many I had in my collection- a first in all my in person collecting.  He was very impressed that I had 2,500 in the collection. Wong recently left the company he was working for and told me life was treating him well.

tot04 kwongKailee was originally a 2nd  round draft choice of the Minnesota Vikings in 1999 from Stanford.  He tallied 271 tackles, 7.5 sacks, and 5 interceptions for 55 yards and a TD.  Most of his stats came in his final two seasons with the Vikings, when he was slotted at middle linebacker.
I think that Kailee was the first defensive player that the Texans signed as a free agent back in 2002. He’d be part of a 3-4 defense alignment that’d showcase himself, Jaime Sharper, Jay mem16 texansForeman, and Jeff Posey
at linebacker. While with the Texans, Wong put up a respectable stat line at primarily left outside linebacker. Over his career there he tallied 164 tackles and 15 sacks. He was the career leader in sacks for the franchise at the time of his retirement. Highly effective in pass coverage, Wong blanketed defenders to the tune of 25 combined pass deflections in 2003 and 2004.

In the end injuries and age caught up to Wong in 2007. While the flame continued to burn bright for Wong, the Texans wanted to get younger and asked Kailee to accept a backup role and mentor the linebacker corps.  He asked for and was granted his release instead.

G/Gs  123/93         TAC    376       SAC   21.5        FUM   2
INT 6       YDS 55      AVG 9.0     TD 1      LG 27t

 

Sharper, Jamie

ud02tex sharperCard: Upper Deck Houston Texans 2002
Acquired: IP 9/1/2013, Houston Texans Kemah Boardwalk Kickoff
Failure: TTM 2010, C/o Home
See Also: Texans Ambassadors

After carving a great stint out at UVA and helping the team to an ACC title in 1995, the Baltimore Ravens selected Jamie Sharper with the 34th pick of the 2nd round in the 1997 NFL draft. An unsung, integral part to the Ravens 2000 title run Jamie’s defining moment with the franchise came in Super Bowl XXXV against the Giants (and former Virginia teammate Tiki Barber) when the historic Baltimore defense held New York without an offensive touchdown in the 35-7 rout.

In 2002, the Houston Texans were conducting their expansion draft from a pool of NFL veterans. Facing salary cap issues, the Ravens left Sharper exposed. In the weeks running up to the special draft for my newly adopted team, I had paid special attention to the list and pegged Sharper as the highest rated player available.  The Texans selected him with their 5th pick, and along with fellow teammate Jermaine Lewis, he joined the fledgling franchise.

Sharper fit well in the Texans’ 3-4 base alignment brought in by head coach Dom Capers. Slotted inside at RILB, Jamie was one of the better linebackers in the league, manhandling ball carriers and marauding for the occasional fumble. He’d help anchor the linebacking corps for the Texans for the next 3 seasons. Defensively the Texans were actually pretty good, but because the offense was so bad along the exterior of the line and quarterback David Carr was pressed into immediate duty, the team had few high points after surprising the Dallas Cowboys in their first regular season game 19-10. In 2003, Jamie led the NFL with a whopping 301 combined tackles, but in the meantime though, and after 3 seasons, most of the expansion players’ contracts matured like a ticking time bomb.  The Texans were pressed into immediate Salary Cap action. Purging nearly all the players from the expansion draft, the thought from the team was by going younger and faster at linebacker, they could also go cheaper and still remain competitive. I was blindsided and incensed. Jamie was given the option of seeking a trade, but because of his larger salary cap number, he eventually was cut and signed with the Seattle Seahawks. The Texans in the meantime were not competitive. They finished a dismal 2-14 and owner Bob McNair wisely cleaned house after the 2005 season. It was a blessing in disguise for Jamie.  In his final season in the NFL, he was a member of the Seahawks first Super Bowl appearance, but a knee injury ended his season after 136 straight NFL starts, and unfortunately his career.

sharperI had written Jamie back in 2010, but did not hear back from him. The Texans have an extremely active alumni association of local former players, (much to the organization’s credit,) that reaches out to fans throughout the year. Missing out on a few Academy appearances, since I just couldn’t justify driving 200+ miles for one autograph, I decided to go to the Texans 2013 Kickoff at Kemah- which is a team rally to get fans excited for the upcoming season. Knowing that 3 players were to make an appearance, I packed all my ambassador cards, and lucked out with Jamie. After surviving a blistering 3 hour wait in 100+ degree and 100% humidity, while fighting off a pack of line cutters, I eventually was able to get Jamie on this 2002 expansion franchise card from Upper Deck. He was also very impressed by my Jamie Sharper jersey (yes I am probably the only person who owns one) that I was wearing and offered to sign it, but I told him no, since I like to wear it and probably needed to wash it after waiting so long in the heat. (I think he was a bit disappointed though, so I may retire it with an autograph the next time, if I see him again.) When I asked him which ball carrier he hated or feared the most to tackle, he took a second to respond and told me, “Definitely Barry Sanders.”

G/Gs  136/135    Tac           Sac  25.5       Fum  13        Int   2      Yds  49     Avg    24.5     Td 0    Lg 45