Tag Archives: virginia destroyers

Holland, Johnny ‘Mr. Everywhere’

Cards: ProSet 1990, Topps 1990, Action Packed 1990, Topps Stadium Club 1992
Acquired: TTM 2016, C/o The Cleveland Browns
Sent:  11/28/16   Received:  1/6/17     (39 days)

Johnny Holland was one of the galvanizing forces behind the ‘Wrecking Crew’ of the Texas A&M defense during the dying days of the Southwest Conference of the mid to late 80s.  At the time of his graduation from A&M he was the school’s all-time leading tackler and garnered Johnny the nickname ‘Mr. Everywhere’.

In 1987, the Green Bay Packers selected Johnny with their second round pick of the draft.  The ’87 draft has an impressive pedigree of linebacker talent that included: Cornelius Bennett, Shane Conlan, Brian Bosworth (SUP), Dave Wyman, Winston Moss, Michael Brooks, Scott Stephen, Byron Evans, Hardy Nickerson, Al Smith, Dennis Gibson, Greg Lloyd, and Jessie Tuggle (UDFA). Johnny fit right in, and the Packers were glad to have him, as he’d earn team rookie of the year honors from the franchise.  Johnny was a smart, instinctual, consistent, and reliable force for the Packers over the next 6 seasons- prized traits for linebackers. Although not flashy, Holland could be counted on by the Pack to post 100+ tackle seasons with regularity. During the 1992 season he herniated a disc in his neck. He rehabbed from the injury and returned to form in 1993 recording a career high 145 tackles, but learned that he had blown a disc in his back during the season. Johnny opted to retire.

He jumped almost right into coaching from there in 1995, first with the Packers until 1999. Holland served in a variety of capacities from Special Teams to Linebackers to quality control.  He then spent the next 3 seasons with the Seahawks as an assistant conditioning coach, special teams, and linebackers coach. From 2003 to 2005 Johnny was an assistant defensive coach and Linebackers coach with the Lions before his longest stint with the Houston Texans (2006-2010) as their linebackers coach.  He’d coach for the Virginia Destroyers of the UFL in 2011, and then after serving 1 season as the LB coach of the Oakland Raiders (2012), Johnny took a dip in the pool of the CFL with the British Columbia Lions LB corps (2014-2015).  He coached the ILB crew of the Browns for 2016, and as of 2017 is with the 49ers in a similar capacity.

Beloved by the Packers’ faithful, Johnny was inducted into the franchise’s Hall of Fame in 2001.  He also has been honored by both Texas A&M (1993) and the Cotton Bowl (2000) for his contributions to the sport.

Johnny is a very good signer through the mail. He signed these 4 cards for me via the Browns back in 2016. Johnny’s Proset 1990 card is a beast and his Stadium Club entry does not disappoint either.  The other two entries are kinda bad. Action Packed gives an entry of him from behind. That’s not what  you want to see, however I selected it because I got so many duplicates of this card when I used to get them at the 7-11 I might as well get it signed too. Topps 1990 suffered from a lot of bad things. Bad design and lazy photography riddled the set. Still it was a foundation of my set collecting of my childhood and sometimes the portrait photos of the players just stick with me, like this one of Johnny.

G/GS  103/100    TAC 777     SAC  3.5      FUM  15
INT  9     YDS  130      AVG  14.4      TD  0      LG  32

Maehl, Jeff

sage11-jmaehlCard: Sage Hit 2011 (203/250)
Acquired: 2016, EBay

Jeff Maehl was a standout receiver in Chip Kelly’s explosive offense while at Oregon. The former Duck scored 23 TDs on 178 receptions over his college career, averaging roughly 13 yards a catch. While Jeff was a standout at the combine on cone and shuffle drills, he clocked a pedestrian 4.62 40. Jeff went undrafted in the NFL, but was offered a contract with the UFL Virginia Destroyers. He opted to wait until the 2011 strike was over, and found a home with the Houston Texans as a member of the team’s practice squad where he’d remain on and off for the next season.

In 2013, Jeff was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles, reuniting him with former college head coach Chip Kelly.  He saw limited time on the field recording 9 catches for 67 yards and a TD, as a pet project of the coaching staff who liked him over Riley Cooper.  Maehl also saw time on special teams. Late in the season, Jeff sustained a concussion, which delayed his return to the field.  He’d have another 5 catches in 2014,  while he bode his time in the Eagles receiving corps. Oddly, in 2015 Jeff was cut with an undisclosed injury settlement.

G/GS   27/0        REC  9        YDS  113       AVG 12.6     TD  1        LG   37

Washington, Lionel

pset91 lwashingtonCards: ProSet 1991, Fleer 1990
Acquired: TTM 2015, C/o Work
Sent:  8/10    Received: 8/20    (10 days)

A fourth round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1983, during the darker days of the franchise- Lionel Washington went on to have sterling career for the Cards, Raiders, and Broncos over 15 seasons. A solid DB for the Tulane Green Wave, and a four-year letterman for the Wave from 1979-82, Washington helped Tulane to 26 wins and appearances in the Liberty Bowl (1979) and Hall of Fame Bowl (1980) during his career.

flr90 lwashingtonWashington spent the next 4 seasons in St. Louis. His rookie season was impressive, as he recorded 8 interceptions, 67 tackles, and a fumble, in only 8 games, but perhaps playing in the shadow of St. Louis’ mediocrity and lack of national exposure, didn’t win him the defensive rookie of the year award.  After the 1986 season, Washington was traded to the Los Angeles Raiders. There he’d go on to endear himself to fans in one of the most formidable secondaries alongside guys like Eddie Anderson, Stacey Toran, Vann McElroy, Mike Haynes, and Terry McDaniel. He’d be enshrined in Tecmo Super Bowl lore in 1991 with one of the most feared defensive backfields. It was not uncommon to intercept 2-3 passes a game or return one for a long TD with that secondary. In 1989 Washington had 3 picks and a 3 fumble recoveries for 2 TDs. Thanks to the advent of true free agency in 1993, the Raiders ran out and signed Kansas City rival CB Albert Lewis.  Washington lost his starting job to him and signed with the Denver Broncos in 1995. After a two season stint, Washington returned to the Raiders for one final season before retirement.

A venerable coach, Lionel has coached extensively at the professional level with the Packers (1999-2008), Raiders (2009-2010), and Virginia Destroyers (UFL 2011).  As of 2015, he’s returned home to Tulane where he’s not only the defensive backs coach, but the co-defensive coordinator.

Lionel Washington’s 1991 ProSet card (and the 1992 ProSet Platinum) are some of the reasons why I really appreciated ProSet’s choice of photography. The above shot is just perfect, and it illustrates why the landscape card made its reappearance in 1991. To top it off, Washington has an elegant autograph, that perfectly encompasses his number into a swoosh that curves back upon the W.

G/Gs  204/164      Tac  N/a       Sac 1.0       Fum 7
Int  37     Yds 418       Avg  11.3      TD 4     Lg 48t