No clue as to why I didn’t get the cards I sent out in 2020 back from Taylor. He was signing at a really good click and I guess that’s the luck of the draw right? I reloaded and waited until a better time- which appeared in 2022. He became sort of a folk hero for the Commanders over the last few years, but the team opted not to resign him after the ’22 season, so he packed his bags and headed out for Atlanta. I figured these cards were lost as well but eventually they made their way back to me.
Taylor has seen stops with the Texans, Panthers and Washington since his time as a rookie in Minnesota. In 2020 he joined the XFL and was widely expected to be a star in the young league, but got beat to the punch by Jordan Ta’Amu. Despite not seeing almost any playing time in the XFL 20, Taylor is considered one of the more ‘famous’ success stories of that league.
Cards: Topps Valor 2015, Sage 2015 Artistry, Sage 2015, Sage 2015 Next Level, Panini Prestige 2015, Panini Prestige Blue Chips 2015, Topps Air 2015, Panini Contenders 2016, Topps 2015, Leaf Draft 2015 Acquired: IP 2019, XFL Roughnecks Meet and Greet. Box Breaker 2020
Wow. What a haul. After seeing Sammie was drafted by the XFL Roughnecks I quickly pulled out as many cards of him as I could in anticipation of some sort of event or draft party and just bode my time. A few events passed by, and knowing I had a chit to burn to Houston for an event or two, I thought I’d wait it out and see. Lo and behold a triple billing of Head Coach June Jones, QB Connor Cook and Sammie popped up- so I made my move and went to the event.
I took a half day and drove down to North Houston. I’d never been to The Woodlands. It’s name is pretty apt as the bar they were at was in the middle of a shopping strip in a forest. I was one of the first people there, and immediately bumped heads with a fan who did not want to hang out with any other fans- little less one from Austin. He was quick to flip on me, constantly bagging on Austin, or saying, “There’s too many liberals in Austin,” – And not in a joking way. I tried to not let it spoil my enthusiasm for the team, but it was frustrating having that as my first experience. Part of the point of the league is no political drama, and here’s a guy making political theater out of it.
Anyway, Sammie, Connor, and June strolled in the door. I waited them out until after they’d eaten. Sammie was destroying some hot wings when I came up. He saw my cards and his eyes lit up, and after washing his hands and coming back signed every one of them. He liked the Sage 2015 cards so much, I gave him my extras I had for his PC. I asked him what position of WR that June Jones would have him at, but he said that it hadn’t been hammered out. We discussed his brief stay in Houston, where he called, Bill O’Brien, “Quite unique,” but notably had nothing bad to say about the ball coach. It was an easy pickup. Sammie signed 11 cards for me total- with an extra going to my friend Jeff, who was unable to go.
There is a thick stack of great cards that Sammie had for me to choose from. Thankfully he signed all of them. I really enjoyed the design on nearly all of them, with the Valor is the easy kill. The Sage Artistry was dreamy to me. I felt like there was a bit extra attention paid to creating this image, but the Panini Blue Chip was a well designed canvas, along with the Contenders which was a pleasant surprise.
Sammie Coates attended Auburn, where with his crisp routes, hands and speed, he burst onto the scene during his Sophomore year with 902 yards receiving on 42 receptions. He declared for the 2015 NFL Draft after finishing with 741 yards on 34 receptions to go along with 4 TDs in his Junior campaign, and was selected in the 3rd round of the draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Coates had a rough go of it and got buried on the depth chart. He played sparingly his rookie year. In 2016 Sammie caught 21 passes for 435 yards and 2 TDs, however injuries drug down a good portion of his efforts for the year and early into training camp for 2017. Traded to the Browns, Sammie was with the team through Spring of 2018, where he then joined the receiver needy Texans. Cut by the Texans, Sammie went through training camp with the Chiefs, but did not make the roster.
He’d be selected in the 3rd round of the XFL Draft by the Houston Roughnecks where he is expected to see serious playing time in the Run N Shoot offense under guru June Jones.
I ended up drafting Sammie for my fantasy team. He had some near misses on TD grabs during the XFL regular season. Over the course of 4 games he caught 6 passes for 61 yards. I tried to see if he’d sign his XFL card for me TTM, but I didn’t get a response.
Kenny Cook played college ball at Gardner-Webb from 2012-2014 after transferring from Garden City Junior College. Playing wide receiver for the Runnin’ Bulldogs, Kenny finished tied for 3rd in school history with 188 career receptions to go along with 2432 yards and 21 TDs. He had 10 career 100 yard games, and averaged the highest number of catches per game in school history (5.7). Kenny’s best year came in 2013, when he caught 76 passes for 1008 yards and 9 TDs. He also set a conference record with 251 yards receiving (12 catches, 2 TDs) in a double overtime win over VMI in 2014. Cook finished his career with numerous honors including being a 2013 FCS All-American, a 3 Time All-Big South Player, and a 2014 Walter Payton Watchlist nominee.
Going unselected in the 2015 NFL Draft, Kenny was signed as an UDFA by the Kansas City Chiefs bouncing on and off their practice squad for the remainder of the year. He’d be signed to a futures contract in 2016 by the team, but sustained a torn quadriceps in camp. Kenny was cut in 2017 is currently a free agent.
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.