Lathon, Lamar

Cards: Action Packed Rookies 1990, Action Packed 1992, SkyBox 1992
Acquired: In Person 1992, 1993, 1994, Houston Oilers Training Camp
Failure: TTM 2010, C/o Home

Lamar Lathon was a fearsome linebacker who came through the University of Houston in the waning days of the Southwest Conference. Lamar was a devastating force in 1988, but his 1989 was ended by a car accident. He’d recover in time for the 1990 draft and along with fellow Houston Cougar Andre Ware – Lamar would be drafted in the first round. Lamar was a target of Jimmy Johnson and the Cowboys, but Lathon ended up the first draft choice of Houston Oilers head coach Jack Pardee who insisted he’d beef up the defensive side of the front with his athletic ability. Lamar would suffer a setback and pretty much his 1990 season would be a wash as he needed arthroscopic knee surgery. Many pundits immediately labeled him ‘a bust’, but Lamar would prove them all aprk90 la lathonwrong with his dominant 1991 season. I have two fond memories of his time in Houston. The first was against Cincinnati in Riverfront Stadium. The Bengals always had the Oilers number at home, but the Oilers would come out and crush the Bengals from the opening whistle. To seal the victory Lamar would have a critical interception he’d return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. He’d also slam the door on Sammie Smith‘s career with a forced fumble he recovered at the 1 yard line against the Dolphins. Later on in the season the Oilers would play host to the Cowboys in overtime when Lamar stripped Emmitt Smith (fellow 1990 draftee) of the football. The Oilers were able to drive the other direction and score the game winning field goal. (Josh never forgave me for that game.)  Lamar would play for the team through 1994 (at outside linebacker and defensive end) until Jack Pardee was fired as coach. With Jeff Fisher in place- the Oilers would go in a different direction and Lathon would sign with the Carolina Panthers in 1995.

He’d have his best statistical years since 1991 with the Panthers, as Dom Capers 3-4 blitzing defenses really suited Lamar’s speed. ap91 la lathonHe’d rack up 8 sacks in 1995 and in 1996 have 13.5, and was named to the Pro Bowl. He’d play only two games in 1998 and then retire from a fractured right knee and was released. In 2001 he attempted a comeback (citing a burning desire to play) and had tryouts and physicals with the Cowboys, Colts, and 49ers, and Giants but was not signed by any squad. Since football Lamar has dealt with some setbacks and minor run-ins with the law.

I really wanted to get Lamar’s autograph (on his Score and ProSet 1990 Rookie cards as they look downright intimidating), but have not heard back from him. I’ll probably try him again once I get a good address or a confirmation of a recent success.

G/Gs 115/92      Tac  414       Sac 37.5     Fum 8
Int  4     Yds 78    Avg 19.4      Td   1     Lg  52t