Tag Archives: upper deck star rookies 2009

Laurinaitis, James


Cards: Upper Deck Star Rookies 2009, Score 2009, Adrenalyn 2010
Acquired:  TTM 2016, C/o The New Orleans Saints
Sent:  5/23  Received: 6/8   (15 days)

A three-time AP All-American, James Laurinaitis was the most recognized and decorated player in the 2009 draft. He was easily viewed by many as the safest selection, and boasted 366 career tackles and 9 picks while playing linebacker for the Ohio State Buckeyes. With a rare combination of size and athleticism, Laurinaitis earned the 2006 Bronko Nagurski Award and then the Lott Trophy in 2008 as the nation’s best defensive player. He was selected by the St. Louis Rams near the top of the second round at pick 35.

He quickly asserted himself as the leader in the middle of the Rams defense and was named to many All-Rookie teams after putting up a line of 120 tackles, 2 sacks, and 2 interceptions in 2009.  During that rookie campaign James notched a single game career high 16 tackles against the Cardinals. As a consistent force in the middle Laurinaitis put up 100+ combined tackles for seven straight seasons. His best season came in perhaps 2011 or 2012 when James had 142 combined tackles.

In 2016, he joined the New Orleans Saints as a Free Agent. During that off season he signed these 3 cards for me.  He switched to inside linebacker, and had 17 tackles through 3 games, but injured his quad. In November he was released by the Saints and had some tryouts with the Chiefs and Lions, but later opted to retire in early 2017.

G/GS 117/116       TAC   663         SAC  16.5          FUM   9
INT 10        YDS 74      AVG  7.4      TD  0       LG   21

 

 

 

Orapko, Brian

ud10 borapko

Card: Upper Deck Star Rookies 2009
Acquired: IP 12/6/2014, Total Athlete ATX Grand Opening

The 13th pick of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins, Brian Orapko had a strong campaign at the University of Texas in college. A slam dunk prospect with good statistics, credentials, and measurables, Orapko did it all for the Longhorns. The Nagurski and Lombardi Award winner in 2009, Brian was a unanimous First Team All-American and Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, recording 42 tackles (31 solo), 11.5 sacks, 19 TFL, 30 pressures, and four forced fumbles. Over his time at UT, he played in 47 games, starting 21.

It’s no shock to the Longhorn faithful that Orapko paid off for the Redskins, leading all rookies in sacks with 11 to go along with a healthy 50 tackles in 2009. Brian’s 2010 and 2011 campaigns were equally measurable, with 8.5 (56 tackles) and 9.0 (59 tackles) sacks, reminding many Redskin fans of former Secretary of Defense, Dexter Manley.  Two games into his 2012 season Brian blew out one of his pectoral muscles, after only recording 8 tackles and a sack. He returned full force in 2013, enjoying perhaps his finest season as a pro with 10 sacks, 60 tackles, 2 fumble recoveries, and recording his first touchdown on a 29 yard interception. He resigned with the ‘Skins in 2014, but he was slowed by a sprained ankle and a dislocated middle finger on his left hand, before he ultimately tore a pectoral muscle (for the third time in his career) in a contest against the Tennessee Titans, ending his season after 7 games.

Here’s one of my strategies that I use as an in person collector: If you have a couple of cards you want to get signed, stack them compactly together when you present them to the player when you ask for their autograph, so that if you have other neat looking cards you’d like to have autographed, maybe the player will be gracious enough to plow into those and sign them as well.

In this case- it didn’t work at all. I got Brian to sign this professional looking 2009 Upper Deck Star Rookies, but he didn’t jump at the Pacific 2009 I had in my hand waiting to go next. It’s all good. I don’t want to be greedy. Brian was a surprising arrival, as he brought his kid with him. I wasn’t expecting Orapko to be there, so luckily the sacred UT long box of cards I keep in my car came to the rescue.  I am assuming that due to his injury and rehab Brian was able to come to the Total Athlete event on the behest of his UT alum and friend Derrick Johnson.  I think he was trying to be low key about it, and his pointy beard was a bit intimidating. I reinserted myself into a conversation with him after initially getting his autograph.
He told me he’d be a free agent next season, and I asked him to consider the Texans. He chuckled, and I told him to think about the awesome combination of Cushing, Watt, and Orapko. (It isn’t tampering if I’m not a representative of the franchise.) Again he said that he’d think about it, and I bid him a fast recovery.

Palmer, Carson

Cards:  Upper Deck 2009 SR
Acquired:  TTM 2011, C/o home
Sent:  9/2  Received: 9/10  (8 days)
Failure: TTM 2011, C/o The Cincinnati Bengals

Gotta hand it to Upper Deck on this release.  Rarely am I interested in buying new cards- especially at today’s prices, but these College To Pro’s inserts… (questionably with an apostrophe between the O and the S,)  were a really nice subset inside their UD Star Rookies offering.  A prime example is this really nice Carson Palmer insert that I was just blown away by.  I thought it would look great autographed. I sent off to the Bengals after I heard that there were a few trickle down successes coming across- but unexpectedly Carson ‘retired’ from the team. My letter was RTSed, but on the outside somebody kindly wrote his new address that I quickly sent back out to.

Carson Palmer had a very good career at USC leading the Trojans to an Orange Bowl victory and also claiming the Heisman Trophy in 2002. After graduating from the school, the hard luck Bengals were looking for a new blood at the position and made him the first overall selection of the 2003 draft. As opposed to previous first round selections, David Klingler and Akili Smith, Palmer would spend his entire rookie season sitting on the bench.

In 2004 he officially took over the starting reins at quarterback for the franchise throwing for 18 touchdowns and 18 interceptions and a 77.3 quarterback rating. He’d deliver for the franchise in 2005 leading them to a division title and a playoff run for the first time in some 15 seasons of futility with a career season posting a 101.1 quarterback rating and leading the league with 32 touchdowns.

Unfortunately he would be injured in the playoffs and the team would lose against the Steelers. After an amazing rehabilitation, Palmer was back on the field in 2006 without missing a regular season contest.  He would win ProBowl honors at the end of the season and throw for over 4,000 yards. After another 4,000 yard season in 2007, he’d be shelved a good portion of 2008 with torn tendons in his throwing arm. Carson would answer the call again leading the team to the playoffs in 2009, but as the team slumped to a 4-12 record in 2010, Palmer demanded to be traded.

Unable or unwilling to make his demands, management decided to put him on the reserve/ did not report list.

G/Gs  97/97   Att  3217   Comp 2024   Yds  22694      Pct 62.9        Td 144        Int 110        Rat  86.9

12-18-11 UPDATE: Shortly before the 2012 trade deadline, the Oakland Raiders were looking to make a move and paid a lion’s share to get a hold of Palmer from the Bengals, where he is now the starting quarterback of the team.