Toon, Al

Cards: Action Packed Rookies 1992, ProSet 1990.
Acquired: TTM 2012, C/o Home
Sent: 3/26    Received: 11/23  (242 days)

An incredible track man who actually had great hands, Wisconsin found a steal in Al Toon where he excelled at wide receiver for the Badgers over a 4 year career. Considered a world class athlete he competed for the 1984 Olympic trials in both the triple jump and the hurdles. The most well-rounded wide receiver prospect on the board of the 1985 draft, Al went 10th to the New York Jets. (This draft was a strong draft for the position with notables Eddie Brown, Jerry Rice, Eric Martin, Andre Reed, Jessie Hester, and Steve Tasker all being drafted after him.)

After a respectable rookie season, where he posted a career high 78 yard touchdown, Al had an even better 1986 catching 85 balls for 1,176 yards and 8 touchdowns. It’d be his first AP and Pro Bowl mark. Narrowly missing the 1,000 yard mark in 1987, Toon led the NFL in receptions but still earned his second and third Pro Bowl and AP nominations for his 1987 season and his banner 1988 season, in which he had 93 receptions for 1067 yards. The 93 catches led the NFL and were a Jets record, and he was named the AFC Player of the Year. Brutal 1989 and 1990 seasons limited Toon’s production, but he rebounded in 1991 to lead the team in receptions with 74 and post 963 yards. Lingering concussions ended Al’s playing career after the 1992 season and he became one of the first players to publicly retire due to them and then by 1994 entered the league’s ‘sponsored’ concussion study program as one of its earliest patients.

Al is another great story cut short by the scourge of injury. He is a player that I speculate could have finished his career with near identical numbers to Andre Reed, if he hadn’t have suffered from so many concussions. Also Al played for some horrid Jets teams that had their share of bad quarterbacks as the team collapsed back into anonymity after their miracle 1985 run. During his playing time it was recorded that Toon received some 13 concussions while playing football.

He has suffered from post-concussion syndrome, but has not let it stop him from attempting to remain physically fit and active, and involved with the Badgers. Al was named to the 40th anniversary team of the Jets and has been inducted into the team’s ring of honor. His son, also a WR was recently drafted in the 4th round of the 2012 draft by the New Orleans Saints.

G/Gs 107/95     Rec 517    Yds  6605   Avg  12.8    Td  31   Lg   78t