Mark Brunell was one of these ageless wonders. He put in 19 seasons under his belt of solid to workmanlike/ journeyman quality work. In the annals of pro football, he doesn’t get the respect he deserves, and his arrival in Jacksonville heralded an era of respectability in Jaguars football. The owner of all of the passing records in the franchise’s record books when he departed the Jaguars after the 2003 season, Mark earned 3 Pro Bowl Nominations, including MVP honors of the 2000 Pro Bowl.
Originally a 5th round pick out of Washington State by the Green Bay Packers in the 1993 draft, Brunell didn’t see much action playing for the Pack, sitting behind Brett Favre and Ty Detmer. He’d be eventually traded to the Jaguars in 1995 for a 3rd and 5th round pick before the team’s inaugural season began. After his banner time in Jacksonville, Mark was traded to the Redskins and provided stability to the quarterback position in Washington from 2004 to 2007. During that period he’d break the NFL record for most consecutive completions in a game with 22. In 2008, he signed with the Saints- winning his lone Super Bowl Championship (XLIV) as Drew Brees’ backup.
Brunell played 2 more seasons for the New York Jets (2010-2012), before retiring. Since that time Mark has gone into coaching stating at the High School level and as of 2018 is coaching in the Jacksonville area. Mark has made the news otherwise for all the wrong reasons financially, and at one point needed to file for bankruptcy. Those are always the most humbling moments- so it was not a big deal to send him the requested donation.
Da’Ron (or Daron) Payne is considered a rare behemoth, with not only space-eating power but the strength to go along with it. He weighs in at 6’3″, 311, and bench presses easily over 450 pounds. Da’Ron also commands the line and teams had a hard time running on him- even when using a double team. With other great talent on the line at Alabama, it took sometime for Payne to break into the starting lineup. In 2017 he finished with 53 total tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack, 1 interception, 3 pass deflections, and a fumble recovery. He flew up the draft boards with his solid combine results. This allowed Da’Ron to be selected 13th by the Washington Redskins.
Turning heads in mini-camp, Daron will slide into the Redskins alignment at defensive tackle and may even play a bit of nose. A nagging ankle injury during camp though limited his reps and he didn’t really play much during the preseason. Daron had an impressive debut in the NFL. Shifting from defensive tackle to nose depending on the alignment, Payne started all 16 games for Washington, and posted 56 combined tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 3 pass deflections and a forced fumble.
Chris Hanburger thought the door had closed on his attempts to get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame- so he was pleasantly surprised to get the nod as a Seniors candidate in 2011. It’s a great story really. Chris has been so good to the TTM community and fans for years, so it was long overdue that the Redskins linebacker received the honor after his accolade laden career concluded.
I mean, who knows if much was expected from the little known 18th round selection out of North Carolina in 1965. Regardless, Chris put together a remarkable 14 year career with 9 Pro Bowl nominations (1966-1969, 1972-1976) and All-Pro Honors (69, 72, 73, and 75) setting the standard for professional play at outside linebacker, durability (135 straight games started), and as a member of the Redskins’ Over the Hill Gang.
I had been wanting to get Chris’ autograph for a while, but had to find the perfect card to get signed. I had no clue that he had a Topps 1970- but considering that he was playing during that period, I should have assumed that there was this great golden era card. It was nice of him to personalize and put an inscription to the card- but it’s too bad that the inscription was slightly smudged.
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.