Tag Archives: ut ud 2011

Jones, John (Wesley) ‘Lam’

Cards: University of Texas Upper Deck 2011, University of Texas Upper Deck 2011 ATA, University of Texas 2011 NCAA, University of Texas 2011 Icons
Acquired: IP 1/21/2017, Houston Sports Collectibles Show- Waco, TX

An impressive track man with fleet caliber speed, Johnny ‘Lam’ Jones was a deep bomb threat at the University of Texas from 1976-1979.  Originally a runningback, Lam was switched to receiver in 1977 when coaches were blown away by his speed.  Case in point, Jones was part of a 4×100 relay team for the United States, that won gold in Montreal in 1976.  In 1977 he demonstrated his speed recording 21 catches for 543 yards, a whopping 25.9 yards per grab, and 7 TDs.  He finished his career at UT with 156 carries for 850 yards and 6 TDs, to go along with 85 receptions for 1603 yards and 14 TDs. Jones was also a capable kick returner with 28 kick returns for 589 yards and a TD.

The New York Jets were enamored with Jones’ speed and big play ability, and traded up in the 1980 draft to the #2 overall spot to grab him. It was a stiff price to pay, and while Lam averaged a healthy 16.8 yards per grab over his career, the price tag was too much for NY to bear.  John’s best season came in 1983 when he caught 43 balls for 734 yards and 4 TDs.  His career was defined by trauma, as in 4 consecutive seasons it was ended by some sort of malaise.  He’d be cut in 1986 and retire.

Jones descended into darkness. Drug and alcohol abuse, and bad decisions really impacted his life. It took many years for Lam to climb out.  Lam found focus in his life and dedicated himself to helping others avoid the same problems he encountered through public speaking.

John was really nice to fans at the Collectible Show in Waco. He and I talked at lengths about how Austin and I-35 had changed. While he discussed with me his Myeloma Cancer and the fact that his doctor told him in 2005 he’d be dead in a year in a half- indeed the cancer has returned and he is no longer in remission. He really liked the icons card that I had of his, and I agreed to send him one to keep.

I don’t mind long drives for autographs. In fact this one seemed close enough at a click over 100 miles. The drives are always purifying to me- something that clears my mind, with a reward pegged at the end. This drive was particularly interesting as it took me an alternative route from Bastrop to Temple and through places like Bartlett and Little River. It was a bit off the beaten path, but I felt like my own explorer in a strange land.  I had never been to the Texas Sports Hall of Fame where this signing was at, but it was woefully short on Houston Oilers history, and long enough to display memorabilia from KS Bud Adams.  It’s worth a look see at least once for fans and casuals alike.

G/Gs 61/38     Rec 138    Yds 2322    Avg 16.8     TD  13    LG 55

Westbrook, Bryant

Cards:  University of Texas Upper Deck 2011, UT UD 2011 All-Time Alumni, Press Pass 1997
Acquired: TTM 2016, C/o Work
Sent:  11/14  Received: 11/26  (12 days)

A feared and hard hitting cornerback with sizzling speed who played at the University of Texas from 1993-1996, Bryant Westbrook is one of the more lauded members of DBU. He earned SWC Honors second-team All-American his senior year, in addition to first-team selections in both the last year of the Southwest Conference, and the first year of the Big 12. He finished his career at UT with 9 interceptions, 30 passed defensed, 6 forced fumbles, 183 tackles, and 2 blocked kicks.

With the hype train in full swing Westbrook’s draft stock spiked up the charts. He was selected with the 6th pick overall by the Detroit Lions in the 1997 NFL Draft, as the second DB off the board.

Bryant had a pretty solid rookie year. He deflected 20 passes- as QBs tested him early and often in his career. Nonetheless he intercepted his first pass from Dan Marino and returned it 62 yards for a TD that year. Bryant landed on the All-Rookie Team at the conclusion of the season.
During 1998, he posted another 19 pass deflections, 3 interceptions, and an 34 yard pick six of Trent Dilfer (TB).  Westbrook suffered a bumpy 1999 as the nicks and tears piled up. He’d be shelved after 8 contests.

Westbrook returned with a vengeance, as he posted his best season as a pro in 2000. Named as a Pro Bowl alternate, he started 13 games and recorded 6 interceptions for 126 yards including a door-blowing 101 yard pick off and score courtesy of Drew Bledsoe of the Patriots.
Disappointingly he’d miss the last 3 games of the season due to a ruptured Achillies.

It was tough for Bryant, because the next season was a contract year, so he had to get back to the game.  He managed to play in 9 contests in 2001 and recorded an interception, but due to his injury, it was obvious that he had lost a step.

Bryant signed as a free agent with the Dallas Cowboys in 2002.  He’d start the opening contest against the Houston Texans, but the Texans had studied the film and knew that Bryant was a liability. He’d be picked on consistently when he was in the lineup in the Texans’ upset 19-10 victory.  The Cowboys quickly cut him and Westbrook joined the Green Bay Packers and made a pick before the end of the season.  The team hoped to convert him to safety in 2003, but he ruptured his other Achillies- effectively bringing his career to an end.

No regrets for Westbrook however, as he’s giving back to the game by coaching (as of 2017) High School football in Arizona. He signed these 4 cards in no time flat for me.

Come on Upper Deck. You could of done better. The 2011 base card is terrible. Rule number one of something you are going to create in a graphics program for production- never ever noticeably stretch an image. I mean the top of Bryant’s helmet makes him look like he’s got a modified Gazoo on. His All-Time Alumni and NCAA All American cards are the same picture. Really? I looked no further than the Press Pass 97 below it to find a differing action shot of Westbrook. The Press Pass card is a bit kitsch, but I do like the die cut action on it.  In the end I liked Westbrook’s larger than life autograph on his Upper Deck All Time Alumni card the best.

G/GS  71/55      TAC  197      SAC 0      FUM 1
INT  13       YDS 239       AVG 18.3      TD 3       LG 101T

Talbert, Diron ‘Talby’

Card: Topps 1977, University of Texas Upper Deck 2011,  NFL Alumni Card
Acquired: TTM 2016, C/o Home
Sent:   6/23   Received: 8/6   (44 days)

Diron joined the family line at the University of Texas playing defensive tackle for the Longhorns from 1964 to 1966. He was the youngest of the 3 brothers to play at Texas and was an All-SWC selection in 1964, and a All-American Candidate in 1966.

He’d be selected by both the Los Angeles Rams (NFL) and the San Diego Chargers  (AFL) in their competitive drafts that year.  Talbert elected to sign with George Allen’s Los Angeles Rams. After losing virtually his entire rookie season to a knee injury, Diron recovered for the next season and played both defensive tackle and end in 1968, and nailed down the starting defensive line position by 1969. He honed his trade playing along Merlin Olsen and Deacon Jones, recording 16 sacks in one season, and learning the double head slap move from Jones.

In 1971, Diron was reunited with George Allen, who put together a multi-player deal in order to pry Talbert off of the Rams. Diron immediately became a fixture on the Redskins defensive line and was named a co-defensive captain alongside Chris Hanburger. Diron wrecked havoc on opposing offensive lines for the next 10 seasons averaging over 7 sacks a season, and scoring 12.5 sacks in 1976.  Diron earned All Pro Honors in 1973 and Pro Bowl Honors in 1974.  In 1975, Diron sacked Craig Morton of the Giants a single game record 4 times. His timing joining the Redskins coincided with George Allen firing up the rivalry between the Redskins and Cowboys. Diron had an especially bitter feud with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach, airing their differences in the media, carrying the body language onto the field, and then taking it out oneach other on the field. Diron in the end, outlasted all of the other members of the Over the Hill Gang, despite a nagging knee injury.

While Diron has not been inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he’s considered one of the 70 Greatest Redskins of All-Time. Adjusted for modern day numbers, Diron ranks top 5 all time from the defensive tackle position in sacks. He ran a successful investment firm after retirement. He is also a outspoken member of the NFL Alumni Association. Talbert is a solid TTM signer. He signed the two cards for me and added in his Alumni card as well.

G/GS  186/157       TAC N/a          SAC N/a         FUM  10
INT 0       YDS 0       AVG -.-       TD 0        LG -.-