Tag Archives: tampa bay buccaneers

Bell, Kerwin

Cards: ProSet 1991, ProSet WLAF 1991, Ultimate 1992 Promo
Acquired: In Person 1992, San Antonio Riders v Orlando Thunder
Failure: C/o Jacksonville State, April 2010
See also: Kerwin Bell (2)

Kerwin Bell started the first game I watched in WLAF history- a shoot out on NFL network between the San Antonio Riders and the Orlando Thunder. Kerwin Bell would lead the Thunder to victory in that game wearing the helmet camera 35-34 over the Riders that day in 1991.

After an acclaimed career playing for the University of Florida, Bell would be drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the 7th round of the 1988 draft, but he’d end up on Atlanta where he’d finish the season behind incumbent quarterback Chris Miller. In 1989 Bell would travel back to Florida where he’d play for the Buccaneers and would be out of football in 1990.

The Orlando Thunder would come calling in 1991 for the WLAF and he’d respond with a solid season throwing for 2214 yards and 17 touchdowns under coach Don Matthews. Wearing the helmet camera on opening night of 1991, he’d lead the Orlando Thunder to an exciting 35-34 victory over the San Antonio Riders, throwing 3 touchdowns to Byron Williams. With 1992 however the NFL allocated players to the WLAF from their player pool of ‘future stars’. With new head coach Galen Hall taking over for Matthews, the team snatched up Dan Marino‘s heir, Scott Mitchell, and Kerwin spent the season strangely on the bench. The team would win World Bowl II, and Bell would see only cleanup time throwing a touchdown in relief. The WLAF would disband after the season and Kerwin would join CFLUSA playing for the Sacramento Gold Miners in 1993 and 1994. He’d hop over to Edmonton in 1995 for a year before being signed by the Indianapolis Colts in 1996. Bell would stay there through the 1997 season where he’d post a perfect quarterback rating completing all 5 passes for 75 yards and a touchdown. In 1998 he’d return to the CFL to play for the Argos where with a vengeance he’d throw for almost 5000 yards and almost 70% of his passes and be a CFL East All Star. He’d hop over to Winnipeg in 1999 for a season and a half before returning to Toronto to close out his playing career after 2001.

He’d jump into coaching being offensive coordinator for the Argos for a season and then into the high school ranks for a bit. After a successful stint at that level he’d be hired by Jacksonville University where he’s been since 2007. When I had gone onto the field to get Scott’s autograph, I was able to do virtually the same with Kerwin. I felt that Bell was the face of the WLAF and was annoyed when he was relegated to the bench in 1992. He graciously signed all 3 cards for me, including this Ultimate WLAF card which was a promo only handed out at games. I sent him two cards in April of 2010, (Kerwin’s Wild Card 1992 and his regular Ultimate 1992 card,) but did not heard back from him. After seeing a few successes in 2012, I took another shot at him and had a success in February of 2012. Below are his WLAF statistics and a few videos.

G/Gs 11/10       Att 331      Comp 185        Yds  2276        Pct  55.9%         Td  17        Int  14         Rat  77.8

Kerwin at Florida v Auburn http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvE5ob0VQ-o
Comical moment involving Kerwin http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPYvI4xOOxQ&feature=related
Kerwin discusses wide receivers at Jacksonville University http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTMpaA0i7YI&feature=related

Chandler, Chris

Cards: Action Packed Rookies 1990, Score 1989
Acquired: In Person, CGA Youth Golf Tournament 1993, Houston Oilers Training Camp 1995

To label Chris Chandler a jouneyman quarterback would be both an accurate assessment but bring the wrong connotation about a player who enjoyed a renassaince over  his career once he had shrugged off the entrapments of cellar dweller football. Probably the greatest problem Chandler experienced over his career was a severe issue with durability and up and down play. Despite these issues, Chris was able to hang around for 17 seasons and posted a 67-85 record as a starter.

Originally the quarterback of the future for the Colts when they drafted him in the 3rd round of the 1988 draft, Chris was buried under the depth chart and by 1990 (with the arrival of Jeff George) sent packing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who were looking for a new direction after the Vinny Testaverde experiment ended. The Bucs would get taken by the Colts for a 1st round choice for him and name Chris starter immediately- but his tenure in Tampa was largely forgettable, lasting 1 and 1/2 seasons before he was cut. Chandler would then bounce around the league as a backup, for both the Cardinals and the then Los Angeles Rams.

In 1995 Chris would get the starting nod with the vagabond Houston Oilers under Jeff Fisher. He was brought in as insurance by the team and to tutor the young quarterback of the future Steve McNair. Chandler played well enough to keep the starting job that year under wraps, (even posting a perfect passing rating in one game against the Bengals,) but by 1996 surrendered the job to 1st round draft choice Steve McNair. It was the right move by the team, and ended up being the right move for Chandler- who would be traded to the Atlanta Falcons for a reasonable 4th round pick.

Chris’ rebirth would continue with the Atlanta Falcons in the most improbable way under head coach Dan Reeves. Amazingly in 1997 and the following year Chandler would post his best seasons, go to the Pro Bowl and lead the Atlanta Falcons to their only Super Bowl appearance in 1998, but after failing to reach the big dance- again frustration mounted, and the Falcons drafted Michael Vick. Chandler would again find himself in the same situation he was with on the Oilers- as a lame duck. This would essentially end Chris’ time with the Falcons by 2002 and he would be left exposed for the Houston Texans Expansion draft however not be selected. He’d sign with the Bears that season and be back up for 2 more years, before playing briefly for the St. Louis Rams and then retire in 2004.

An avid golfer I got Chris’ autograph at the CGA Youth Golf Tournament back in 1993, and then again at training camp when he played for the Oilers in 1995.  Another one of these football players- turned golfers Chandler is apparently quite good on the links. He has also recently taken up coaching as well to pass the time. Among Chandler’s NFL legacies is the only player to throw for a perfect passer rating in a game and a 0 in another, started for a record 8 NFL teams and threw a touchdown for a record 7 NFL franchises. Certainly Chris defined and deserves the NFL journeyman label- but with it he gave a level of respect and dignity to it.

G/Gs  180/152   Att 4005   Comp 2328    Yds 28484    Pct 58.1     Td 170   Int 146    Rat 79.1

Heller, Ron

Card: ProSet 1990
Acquired: In Person 1992, Philadelphia Eagles Traning Camp

The Co-Captain of Penn State’s 1982 championship run, Ron Heller was an offensive tackle at drafted in the bottom of the 4th round of the NFL draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 1984 was a good draft and Heller was a fine specimen at 6’6″, 290. A highly intelligent lineman with a good motor, Heller was both a competent pass and run blocker. Starting immediately out of the gate, Ron would be named to numerous All-Rookie teams at the end of 1984. Playing in obscurity for 4 seasons for the Bucs, Heller would be traded (in 1988) to the Seahawks who in turn traded him to the Philadelphia Eagles, where he’d block for Pro Bowl quarterback Randall Cunningham. Ron would become the first Eagles offensive lineman named offensive MVP of the team in 1989. I’d get his autograph at training camp in 1992, before he signed with the Dolphins to block for Dan Marino in 1993. He never missed a beat, starting immediately, and fit right in with the team for 3 seasons.  A brutal knee injury would end his career after the 1995 season, but Ron would move on to coaching.  He’d finish his playing career playing in 172 games, starting 166 of them.

In 2004, Heller served as an assistant in NFLE on the Amsterdam Admirals. He’d expand on these jobs as an offensive line coach in 2006 and 2007 would allow him to be an offensive coordinator, before the league’s untimely folding.  Ron then joined the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL in 2009 for one season, and then returned to the NFL as an offensive staff assistant for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2010.