Tag Archives: Washington Redskins

Johnson, Larry

Cards: Upper Deck 2009, Pacific 2009, Score 2009
Acquired: TTM 2018, C/o Home
Sent: 11/12 Received: 12/3 (21 days)
Failure: TTM 2012 , C/o Home

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.

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85/55142762234.45565
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1541373839678

Rogers, George

Cards: Upper Deck Legends 1997, Panini Contenders 2018
Acquired: TTM 2018, C/o The George Rogers Foundation*
Sent: 10/20    Received: 11/9       (20 days)
* Donation Enclosed 

George Rogers played runningback for the South Carolina Gamecocks from 1977 to 1980. He really helped put South Carolina’s football team on the map by winning the Heisman Trophy in 1980, when George rushed 297 times for 1781 yards and 14 TDs. He finished his college career pretty much owning all the Gamecock career rushing marks with 927 carries for 5091 yards and 31 TDs, along with 43 receptions for 389 yards and 2 TDs. 

The moribund New Orleans Saints finally caught a break, and with George selected #1 overall by the team, he’d help transform the team from a perennial cellar dweller and give New Orleans an identity. George came out of the gates running. He’d be named rookie of the year in 1981 after he led the league in carries (378), yards (1674) and average yards per game (104.6). He’d also haul in a career high 16 receptions for 126 yards and score 13 total touchdowns. George played for the Saints over the next 3 seasons before being traded in a blockbuster trade to Washington in exchange for their first round pick. 

The second stanza of Rogers’ career began in Washington, as George replaced an aging John Riggins in the backfield for head coach Joe Gibbs. George posted 2 more 1000+ yard seasons in 1985 and 1986, leading the NFL in TDs with 18 in the latter. He’d win a Super Bowl Title in 1987, but shortly after the season announce his retirement at the age of 29- due in part to nagging injuries.

You see, Rogers was a big back and he absorbed a lot of hits over his career.  Concussions and lingering knee injuries did their part to cut it short. Looking back at how aggressively the Redskins loved to run the ball, one wonders where George would’ve stood in the NFL record books if he hadn’t retired so soon. Hypothetically, if we just go with George’s Redskins average of 71 yards per game and multiply that out over the course of a 16 game schedule- that’s 1136 yards. 3 more years like that and he’d have been a member of the 10k club and a probable member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  Regardless Rogers has enjoyed receiving accolades since retirement, being named to the College Football Hall of Fame, having his number retired by his Alma Mater, and various other tributes from South Carolina and the Saints.

I had been thinking about getting him on a few cards since he sort of flies under the radar now and these two really fit the bill nicely. I think the way George played in his career, he is well regarded as a member of both the Saints and the Redskins and this Upper Deck 1997 really does it up right. Although he got some fingerprint stains on my Contenders card, I really like the photo and framing of this set. Panini Contenders seems to do it right for me design wise, since most sets since 2010 really do not intrigue me as much as they used to.

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92/78169271764.25479t
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553686.7025

Fafaul, Mike

Card: Sage 2017
Acquired: 2018, Box Breaker

Mike Fafaul went to UCLA where he played sparingly for the Bruins as a backup (behind Brett Hundley and Josh Rosen) until 2016. Participating in 8 contests, Mike threw for 1602 yards (135 of 259 passes) for 12 TDs and 11 interceptions. He set a school record when he threw 40 completions, 5 TD passes and a bit over 500 yards against Utah. Going unselected in the 2017 NFL Draft, Fafaul went to a few mini camps in the NFL (Ravens, Redskins) and CFL.

Ultimately he’d end up as Tommy Grady’s backup playing for the Albany Empire of the Arena Football League. During his rookie season Mike was 3 of 9 for 18 yards and an interception.  In 2019, he was spotted in Austin working with The Spring League. Mike later signed with the Jacksonville Sharks of the National Arena League.