Category Archives: AAF

Bunche, Malcolm

Topps XFL 2020, #24

CARD: Topps XFL 2020
ACQUIRED: In Person, 2023

CAREER SNAPSHOT:

  • Malcolm played OL at Miami, eventually transferring to UCLA for graduate studies.
  • After not being selected in the 2015 NFL Draft, he embarked on a series of stops with the Eagles (2015), Tiger-Cats (2017), Jaguars (2017), and Giants (2018).
  • Bunche got seasoning playing for an exceptionally good OL with the Arizona Hotshots of the AAF in 2019.
  • He had two more short stops with the Giants and Redskins immediately after that before closing out the year.
  • Bunche then played for the Washington Defenders of the XFL in 2020.
  • After a brief hiatus he played with the San Antonio Brahmas of the XFL 2023.

NOTES:

Malcolm was a nice grab that I picked up during the Purple Heart Event that the team was at in Boerne in April. I was wearing my AJ Tarpley jersey and my guy Kameron Kelly stopped me to admire it and take a photo with me. Malcolm came up to compliment me as he too was an AAF vet from his days with the Hotshots. When I produced his XFL card from my pile of stuff, he was duly impressed and gleefully signed it.

Riley, Mike (2)

CARD: Topps AAF 2019 Certified
ACQUIRED: Private Acquisition, 2022
FAILURE: TTM C/o Home 2019, 2020

CAREER SNAPSHOT:

NOTES:

Picking up where we left off, Mike ended up back at Oregon State, where he became the school’s most winning coach. In 2014, he’d be pried off the Beavers by Nebraska. After a difficult tenure at Nebraska, Mike was welcomed back to Corvallis with open arms as an assistant coach.

When the Alliance of American Football was announced, I knew he’d be at the top of their list. I was excited to see Mike return to SA (from his days with the Riders of the WLAF) to coach the team. He was excited to take a walk down memory lane with me when I showed up with my Riders hat on at the Commanders unveiling. The team very much resembled the Riders, and finished 5-3 during the AAF’s season.

I had narrowly missed getting Mike’s autograph on his Topps AAF card during pregame warmups against the Salt Lake City Stallions. I had sideline passes and thought that he’d be a shoe-in to get later TTM. Oddly though, he’s dodged my TTM requests since then.

After the AAF folded, much to everyone’s dismay, Mike was hired on to be the offensive coordinator for the Seattle Dragons of the XFL in 2020- just because it wasn’t more local to Texas.

Recently it was brought to my attention that Mike and head coach Jim Zorn had a disagreement about who should be starting quarterback. The row was so bad between the two that Mike left the team for the first 3 games of the season.

He joined the new USFL as head coach of the New Jersey Generals, and led the team to a 9-1 record in 2022. The team zoomed out to a 2-1 record in 2023, before dropping their next 5, en route to a 3-7 record.

When the XFL and the USFL combined to form the new UFL, the Generals were not retained for 2024.

Folkerts, Brian

Topps XFL 2020, #41

CARD: Topps XFL 2020
ACQUIRED: IP 2023, San Antonio Brahmas V Arlington Renegades

CAREER SNAPSHOT:

  • Brian Folkerts played college ball for tiny Washburn University from 2008-11.
  • During that time for the Ichabods, Folkerts played both RT and LT for the school.
  • Although possessing the ideal size (6’4″, 306), he’d go unselected in the 2012 NFL Draft.
  • After being cut by the Saints in 2012, Folkerts joined the Arena Football League, playing FB for the San Jose Sabrecats in 2013.
  • He followed that up with a stint playing for the Carolina Panthers from 2013-15.
  • After a short stint with both the ‘9ers and Rams in 2015, Brian rejoined the Panthers briefly again in 2017.
  • Sprained his ankle in the preseason and was cut.
  • In 2019, signed with the San Antonio Commanders of the Alliance of American Football.
  • Played C and blocked up front for one of the league’s better ground games.
  • After the AAF folded, Brian was selected by the St. Louis Battlehawks of the XFL in 2020.
  • With COVID scrambling the XFL before the season concluded, Brian stayed in playing shape.
  • In 2023, was selected by the Arlington Renegades of the XFL 3.0.
  • Has been dabbling in coaching since COVID and in the XFL offseason works as an OL coach for Wingate University in North Carolina.

NOTES:

I was partially miffed and shocked at how many Commanders and former AAFers ended up with the Renegades in 2023. I packed a bunch of Renegade players cards along with my Kenneth Farrow’s, and while Kenneth was signing, both Brian and De’Vante Bausby came over to pay high respects to my Farrow Commanders jersey. I was extremely flattered.

Later my neighbors with me at the game, got field passes for after the game to wander around. They had enough for 5, and invited me, so I said, “Why not?” I rushed the field for a few autographs, and saw Brian standing there with his family taking photos. He was gracious enough to sign his card, take a photo with me, and talk about the Alliance and the Commanders with me. (He also agreed that the league was second to none as far as entertainment was concerned.)

After the game I posted this photo up on Twitter. (I didn’t realize how nice the Renegades icy whites look up close.) He also retweeted it and again had nothing to say but high praises of the Commanders faithful.

With the Commanders gone and the Brahmas reeling, the Renegade players were doing their hardest sell to adopt me.