Tag Archives: lombardi award winner

Zorich, Chris

Gameday 1992, #425

CARDS: Pro Set 1991 Lombardi Award Winner, Action Packed Rookies 1991, Gameday 1992
ACQUIRED: TTM 2021, C/o The Zorich Group*
SENT: 9/22 RECEIVED: 10/4 (12 days)
FAILURE: TTM C/o Home, 2012, 2020, 2021
* Fee enclosed


  • Played for Notre Dame from 1988-90 at NT/DT.
  • Posted 219 total tackles, 9.5 sacks, and 6 fumble recoveries over college career.
  • Looking to reload an aging defensive line the Chicago Bears drafted Zorich during the second round of the 1991 NFL Draft.
  • Playing in a rotation, Chris didn’t see significant starting time until the following year, posting 53 tackles, 2 sacks, and a fumble recovery.
  • Best year came in 1993, posting 121 combined tackles, 7 sacks, and 2 fumble recoveries in first full 16 game slate.
  • Had 5.5 sacks and 72 total tackles in 1994.
  • In final full season in Chicago had 58 total tackles, and a sack.
  • Split final half year in 1997 between Chicago and Washington, retiring after season.


  • Lombardi Award 1991
  • Pro Bowl 1993


Well as you can see here, I tried Chris quite a few times. The first time I tried him back in 2012, I was unaware he’d just been sentenced for tax evasion to prison. I tried again when he resurfaced as an athletic director at Chicago State but again got burnt. Finally I closed in during 2021- where he sent a buckslip requesting a fee. I jumped at the shot to finally get Chris after 3 previously unsuccessful attempts and added him on pretty much all my set needs to close the book on this one. He got back all the cards to me at a quick clip, sent me a personal certification of his autograph, and typed form letter thanking me for being a fan.


Degrate, Tony ‘The Great’

Card: University of Texas Upper Deck 2011
Acquired: EBay, 2020

Tony Degrate was a monster at defensive tackle, for the Texas Longhorns from 1982 to 1984- and is considered one of the finest D-linemen to play at the school. In his 1984 campaign, he amassed a then school defensive lineman record 123 stops and 12 sacks to clench the Lombardi Award, given to the nation’s top lineman. All together, Tony had 47 career tackles for loss and 31 sacks.

The Tampa Bay Bandits made an offer to Degrate, which he turned down, but this ruffled the feathers of the concerned NFL who thought he had all but flown the coop. In the end, Tony was selected in the 5th round of the draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. After spending a season with the team, he saw time in camp with the Packers, and later the Bucs.

Tony’s story is a cautionary one, and I relate to him immensely. Degrate is a great talent who let those little nagging voices in his head get to him, and his confidence just kept slipping, and it affected him physically and mentally. Self doubt and guilt are terrible burdens to bear.

I can understand why he is a difficult autograph to get in any capacity, as he probably feels that he let a lot of people- and himself down. He went back to school and finished his art degree, but at one point I believe that he was a personal trainer in the Austin area.

Degrate’s first card came out in 2011 as part of the Upper Deck Texas set. There are 3 cards in the set of him, and he is very difficult to get an autograph from. He doesn’t sign TTM and when I attended an event at the UT Coop he was scheduled to be at, he cancelled at the last moment. I really liked this card of him leaping up and making a play, and I was more than happy to pick up this card via EBay at a reasonable price.

I hope Tony is doing well.

Sims, Kenneth “Special K”

sco90 ksimsCards: Score 1990, Fleer 1990.
Acquired: TTM 2014, C/o Home
Sent: 3/10    Received: 4/8  (29 days)

Kenneth Sims spent his ‘apprentice years’ learning the defensive tackle rotating in behind Steve McMichael and then exploded onto the national scene in his Junior season, racking up 131 tackles for the University of Texas. He was an all All-American at the university in his Senior year, winning the Lombardi Award, and finishing as a runner up (8th) for the Heisman Trophy. He’d average 12 tackles a game over his career for the Longhorns.

Ken parlayed his amazing performance at the University of Texas into being the overall #1 pick of the 1982 draft. At 6’5″, 291 Ken certainly posessed the size and athleticism to anchor the defensive line in the 3-4 alignment for the New England Patriots. The Patriots felt they could kick him outside to play left defensive end. (Ironically McMichael also had a short stint with the Patriots after being drafted by them out of UT as well, but was cut and went on to greater glory for the Chicago Bears.) Sims career unfortunately flr90 ksimswould be marred by injury, and only played 1 full 16 game slate in 1984 recording 96 tackles. During the Patriots improbable 1985 Super Bowl run (XX), Ken had perhaps his finest season, finishing with 5.5 sacks, 65 tackles, and 2 fumble recoveries in 13 games, but injuries during the 1983, 1986, and 1988 seasons, wiped out nearly 3 full seasons of play. He’d retire after the 1989 season back to the Austin area where he’s begun dabbling in sports radio. Ken is an avid Longhorn sports fan and has spent time at the University studying sports management.

G/Gs 74/64    Tac  364   Sac 17    Fum 5   Int  0   Yds  0     Avg -.-    Td 0     Lg -.-