Card: GameDay 1992
Acquired: In Person 1993, Dallas Cowboys Training Camp
James McArthur Washington was originally a 5th round pick of the then Los Angeles Rams in 1988 out of UCLA. He’d play two seasons for the team as a backup, suiting up in 25 games and making one pick. In 1990 Washington would sign Plan B with the Dallas Cowboys. I’d swear that he was the Dallas Cowboy who first wore the dew rag on the team- frequently sporting a black one across his head that made him look like a ninja samurai headhunting safety. Playing for the Cowboys he would enjoy his greatest success allowed to roam the secondary as a starter at strong safety and occasionally at free safety, pulling in a career high 113 tackles in 1991 and 5 interceptions in 1994. SuperBowl XXVIII (1993) would be his finest hour where he’d make an interception, recover a fumble for a touchdown and make a team high 11 tackles. Even though Washington was considered for the MVP honor, he eventually lost out to Emmitt Smith for the honor. In 1995 he’d sign as a free agent with the rival Redskins, where he’d start 12 games making 2 interceptions before he retired after 7 seasons.
James works for Fox Sports Radio and net, founded and works with Shelter 37, Inc., and was named in 2010 as the Assistant Director of Alumni Giving at UCLA.
G/Gs 114/70 Tac 458 Sac 0 Fum 7 Int 17 Yds 187 Td 0 Lg 38
Card: Action Packed Rookies 1991
Acquired: In Person, Dallas Cowboys Training Camp 1996
Near the waning days of my first autograph collecting stint, (which could be directly attributable to a horrid relationship I began in a different story all together for a ‘my diary posting’,) I got wind that Ricky Ervins was signed by the Los Angeles Raiders who needed depth at running back to get through training camp because of injuries to many of their key players in 1996. I’d get him along with a few other players that year, but this would be my final time at Cowboys Training Camp at St. Edwards in Austin. It was a good, long run which yielded a slew of SuperBowl talent and interesting stories, but the Cowboys were leaving Austin and the Oilers had already packed Bud’s moneybags for backroom promises in Tennessee. I’d effectively tune out of the sport after 1997- not even watching it again until 2000.
Ricky Ervins from Pasadena, Ca is considered a USC legend- (holding many records that Reggie Bush would later break) for the squad and is most remembered for his 1990 campaign in which he won the Rose Bowl MVP honors. Despite his credentials, Ricky had to wait until the 3rd round of the 1991 draft to hear his named called- by the Washington Redskins. You see, Ervins is another case of a player before his time. At 5-7 , 200, Ervins was considered undersized for a tailback, but in this day and age Ricky would fit right in with most West Coast offenses and their 3rd down, ‘scatback’ roles. The Redskins immediately put him to work along side Earnest Byner and the electric duo would help the Redskins make other teams respect the run. In his rookie season, Ervins scampered for 680 yards (leading all NFC rookies), a 4.7 per carry average (leading all rookies), a 65 yard long jolt for a touchdown, and win SuperBowl XXVI. (Ricky would be the leading rusher of the game with 72 yards.) He’d rarely see starting time but rather was brought in for a fresh set of legs and a change of pace. Ricky also was a formidable receiver out of the backfield making 32 catches in 1992 and start a career high 10 games en route to 51 more receptions in 1994. He’d be signed by the San Fransisco 49ers in 1995, and inexplicably for no reason, got lost in the backfield shuffle and be out of a job at the end of the season. The Oakland Raiders came calling in 1996, where Ricky flew down to be in camp with the team in Austin for training camp. Unfortunately he wouldn’t make the final roster and retired. Since football, Ricky has opened a successful high school athletic prep academy called Xtreme Xplosion (http://www.xtremexplosion.net/) in Northern Virginia.
G/Gs 76/11 Att 554 Yds 2114 Avg 3.8 TD 8 Lg 65T |
Rec 117 Yds 870 Avg 7.4 Td 2 lg 28
Card: GameDay 1992
Acquired: In Person, Dallas Cowboys Training Camp 1993
Indiana University is not really known as a hotbed of football talent- but the Raiders took a chance on Nolan Harrison in the 6th round of the 1991 draft as a possible replacement for star defensive end Howie Long or Greg Townsend. In the meantime the Raiders would utilize him also at defensive tackle, until 1994 when he’d get a career high 5 sacks at left defensive end. Nolan would sign with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1997, and play there through 1999 making 7.5 sacks and then close out his career with the Washington Redskins in 2000. As a player, Nolan’s strength would be his high motor and flexibility along the defensive line providing invaluable depth for 10 seasons.
Since retiring Harrison has remained extremely active in NFLPA activities, serving on a variety of boards, financial management, and being a motivational speaker. In 2010, Nolan was named Senior Director of Former Player Affairs and he and former Raider Dave Pear have also squared off on disability and retirement benefits over the last few months.
On top of the possible 2011 NFL strike, there’s actually another party involved in the labor dispute that must not be ignored- those retired players that paved the way for the rest of the league’s success. Many former players who did not live on the ballooned million dollar contracts and on a pittance of severance sacrificed their bodies for our entertainment and now their pain and problems are largely ignored by the league. While Nolan has made some contact with Dave Pear- it remains to be seen whether or not our former greats are treated with the respect they deserve. You can follow Nolan on twitter at: http://twitter.com/NolanHarrison74.
G/Gs 128/83 Tac 199 Sac 22.0 Fum 5 Int 0 Yds 0 Avg -.- Td 0 Lg 0