Tag Archives: memphis maniax

Salaam, Rashaan (1974-2016)

Cards: SkyBox Impact 1995, Topps XFL 2001
Acquired: TTM 2011, C/o Home.
Sent: 9/2/11  Received: 3/24/12  (204 days)

Well I had chocked it up to the mail gods that I would not be receiving this one back, but after a 200+ day wait, I received these two beauties back in the mail. Salaam had been signing at a breakneck pace, and I had been tracking him through Sportscollectors.net, so I shot these two cards out as soon as I had a chance back in September of last year. It appears that I was in the first round of signings that had to wait a while. Still I am really happy to add Salaam to my collection and he was kind enough to inscribe the cards with his Heisman year.

Rashaan Salaam first came to my attention when Texas joined the Big 12. An imposing runner, he had 2,055 yards in 1994- still one of the highest numbers in college history. He’d have his best game against the Longhorns, galloping for some 350+ yards against them, (-obviously a CU record), becoming the first Buff to win the Heisman, and grabbing Unanimous All-American honors. While I thought that the Buffs would continue to provide a rival to the Longhorns, unfortunately their 3rd place national ranking after the season was their best, for the rest of Colorado’s time in the Big 12.  Salaam declared for the NFL draft after his amazing 1994 season.

The Chicago Bears in 1995, now led by head coach Dave Wannastedt, tapped Salaam with the 7th pick overall in the 1995 draft. Salaam had a decent rookie season. In his rookie campaign, he amassed over 1000 yards rushing and had 10 touchdowns.  The runningback Sophomore jinx struck in 1996 as Salaam started only 6 games that season, plagued by injuries running for a shade under 500 yards. It also didn’t help that Rashaan didn’t protect the rock well, and after a short 1997, the writing was on the wall with the addition of Curtis Enis to the roster in 1998. Salaam was a free agent, and played briefly for the Browns and Packers in 1999.

Salaam was a rare breed as far as backs go. He could do it all, but the abuse he took running for Colorado clearly had taken its toll by the time he emerged onto the NFL scene. The double-edged sword to Salaam was that the more carries he got, the more dangerous he became. After sitting it out for a few years, the XFL called wanting to know if he was interested in reviving his career in 2001. Salaam took the opportunity by the horns, and was drafted by the Memphis Maniax. In his first game Rashaan ran for a league high 156 yards, but was injured with 4 games left in the season. He’d accumulate 528 yards on the ground (4th), 5 TDs rushing (3rd), 88 YPG (2nd), and  key the Maniax’s league leading rushing game.  The league disbanded after the season.

Salaam attempted a comeback to the NFL, with the Detroit Lions in 2002, but did not make the cut. He then spent a brief time with the Argonauts in the CFL, and retired after the season. Salaam also made an appearance in Tecmo Super Bowl Final Edition for Super Nintendo where he was a very good budget runningback for the Bears.

NFL  G/Gs 33/21 Rush 471   Yds 1684   Avg  3.6     Td  14    Lg 42
Rec 16   Yds  120   Avg 7.5   Td  1   Lg 18

XFL  G/Gs 6/6   Rush  114    Yds 528      Avg   4.6     Td   5     Lg  39t
Rec   6   Yds  41    Avg  6.8     Td 0     Lg  8

UPDATE 12/6/2016: Rashaan passed away today at the age of 42. His body was found at a park less than two miles away from the stadium where he starred at the University of Colorado.  It is believed at this time that he passed away of natural causes.

Arnold, Jahine

Autograph Memorabilia
Stampede Inaugural Magazine Austin Wranglers
Acquired: Gift 2004

My cousin got me a game program full of autographs back in 2004, that I found recently when digging through some boxes.

Jahine Arnold came to the Austin Wranglers in 2004 after a stint with the Los Angeles Avengers and Tampa Bay Storm in 2003.  Previously he spent 2 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers utilized primarily as a backup returner, but injuries limited his effectiveness and he was traded to Green Bay. He’d be drafted by the Birmingham Thunderbolts of the XFL in 2001 and was waived in camp, but was quickly signed by the Memphis Maniax.

After retiring from pro football Arnold spent some time as a web designer and in real estate, however in 2007 he was tragically diagnosed with the same progressive liver disease as Walter Payton.Currently fighting what is known as Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, Jahine has established a foundation and refuses to go down.  On top of that without insurance, Arnold has been battling with the Social Security Administration for the benefits he should be entitled to. He’s been involved in kids football camps in his spare time as well.

Harper, Alvin

Cards: Classic 1991, Action Packed Rookies 1991
Acquired: In Person 1991, 1992 Dallas Cowboys Training Camp

The fresh smell of the second training camp was still in the air and permanent fences still hadn’t been fully erected. Players didn’t always go up the alleyway and occasionally a poor soul would get swarmed by the masses like zombies to the fresh meat, when they came up the wrong way. Alvin Harper did exactly this the first time we got his autograph. He’d be one of our first victims that training camp on his abysmal looking Classic 1991 card. -Great pose however. He was a hell of a jumper. I also learned about trying to avoid getting autographs on glossy cards as with this card the autograph streaked a bit. Alvin Haper like David Anderson– loves to put a star for his “A”- but in this case it really makes sense because in a vain way because Alvin played for the Cowboys. Josh and I also met this guy who was crazy about meeting Harper the next year- and kept talking about how Harper was from a little town in Florida called Frostproof. He talked about it so much- I remembered it for this article without even looking it up!

Harper would be drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in their 1991 draft along with Russell Maryland. His rookie season would pass by uneventful enough stretching the field with 20 catches for 326 yards. Alvin’s 2nd and 3rd year would see proportionate increasing in his playing time, yardage, catches and touchdowns, to a point where in his 4th year- Harper would lead the NFL in average yards per catch with a sizzling 24.9 yards per catch. This would be the apex of his statistical career.

I really scratched my head because in 1995 he was the top free agent wide receiver on the market, and the Cowboys were not interested in resigning him. Harper would sign with the lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who were looking for his big play potential to stretch defenses. Harper was happy playing for bigger money closer to home in Frostproof. He was also courted by the Redskins and Chiefs. Things didn’t exactly pan out. Injuries and a bad offense didn’t help him and his career quickly fizzled out. Alvin would spend two seasons there, and then sign in 1997 with the Redskins and also the Saints. In his time with the Redskins though Harper found out about volunteer coaching through Howard University, and began that season. In 1998 he’d be out of football, but hoping to recapture some of that magic again signed with the Cowboys where he played one final season with them in 1999. Alvin has always kept one eye on the sport that he loves dearly- and played in the XFL for the Memphis Maniax in 2001, before retiring from the sport for good. Alvin kept coaching,- something that he truly enjoys and spent some time coaching receivers in the NFLE for the Rhein Fire in 2005. Harper was also officially hired on board by the Howard Bisons (whom he previously interned for) and in 2004 became the team’s offensive coordinator: A position he’s held into 2010.

Largely one could wonder how Harper would have fared if he stayed paired with Michael Irvin. Harper certainly had great tools and athleticism which the Cowboys really knew how to use, but he never quite fit the mold of a lead wide receiver that the Bucs and Redskins hoped he’d be. On a more humorous note, Alvin had a secret nickname- “Freaky Harp”, which I will leave it to you to figure out as he was banned from a Gentleman’s Club in Dallas for being in a phone booth, -and it wasn’t for making a phone call. Harper was also well represented on Tecmo Super Bowl Final Edition on Super Nintendo and was a real factor in the game… for the Buccaneers.

G/Gp 102/67     Rec 191      Yds 3473     Avg 18.2      Td 21      lg 90t