Friday, May 26, 2017

It's Al-wright in the End

Yesterday afternoon, the Bears made a roster move that generated some massive excitement in the city of Chicago...  if it was made in 2012, that is.  The Monsters of the Midway inked former New York Giants star, Victor Cruz, to a one-year contract to bring his talents to the Windy City.  The star wide reciever has won himself a Super Bowl title, made the Pro Bowl, twice been named second-team All-Pro, and is also tied for the record of the longest reception in NFL history (99 yards).  However, all of that occurred at least five years ago and, since 2013, he has battled a slew of injuries and age-related decline.

Big name - low expectations.  Truly, he serves as a stop-gap on a rebuilding team, essentially replacing the recently jettisoned Eddie Royal.

That said, the salsa-dancing, touchdown celebrating wide receiver will be a Bear and, thus, must be represented in my Bears All-Time Roster Collection.  So, I immediately looked to my football trade stash to see if I had any cards of the fading star player.  Being such a big name in a major market, I thought I must surely have at least one base card.

Spoiler alert - I do not.  However, the exercise was not a complete waste of time, as I happened to come across a card featuring another off-season acquisition by the Bears:

Kendall Wright will be battling with the aforementioned Cruz, oft-injured Kevin White, Markus Wheaton and a host of others for playing time during the upcoming season.  In five years chasing passes with the Tennessee Titans, Wright has made 280 receptions for 3,244 yards and 18 touchdowns as a mostly regular player.  We'll have to wait until training camp to see how the WR position fully develops, but these two names will be at the forefront.

It's funny that Wright should end up as a Chicago Bear and this card should be placed in my BATRC binder because this particular card was a source of confusion for me a few years ago.  In fact, it's not the first time it's snuck into said binder.  Allow me to explain.

 The story revolves around the back of this card:

A few years ago, on a lark, I purchased one of those football Fairfield repacks from the local corner pharmacy - they make great cheap entertainment when you're bored.  I was casually flipping through my stash of new cardboard when I came across Kendall's card, backside first.  I was thrilled because I thought I had just pulled a new Bears card for my collection.

Why did I think that Mr. Wright played for the Bears, you ask?  Well:

That stat-lines clearly say he did, duh.  So, I hurriedly filed through the rest of the cards so that I could add a coveted new name to my Bears roster collection.  I live for any addition to my All-Time Roster Collections - they are the pillars of my card collections, after all.

After I nestled my new find gently into it's respective pocket in the binder, I took to Microsoft Excel to giddily highlight his name on my All-Time Bears Roster.  As I scrolled through the alphabetically sorted list, I came to the "W" section, only to find that "Wright, Kendall" was not listed there at all.  Say what???  I was so very confused.

Thankfully, I was already at a computer, so I immediately opened an internet browser and entered into internet super-sleuth mode.  I was disappointed to find out that, according to Wikipedia and ProFootballReference, Kendall Wright had never played a down for the Chicago Bears, not even in in the pre-season.  What gives, right?

Clearly I need to pay closer attention when sorting cards.  While Kendall had never been a CHICAGO Bear, he did spend four years playing football for Baylor University, from 2008-11.  Of course, Baylor's sports teams just so happen to be the "Bears."  When I read this on Wright's Wikipedia entry, all I could muster was a disappointed...

I must admit, I'm not always the best Bears fan.  In the years between their most recent Superbowl appearance (2007) and the current clown show, my interest in the franchise has spiked and dipped at random.  That, combined with the fact that roster turnover on NFL teams is darn near impossible to keep up with, I just figured that Wright's name must have slipped past me.  I didn't bother to make note of the "college" written all around his stats or the fact that his statistics were that of a major starter.  Furthermore, I completely disregarded the fact that I was holding a notated "rookie card" in my hand - how could have he possibly spent four years with Chicago if he was a rook in 2012?  Silly, Tony.

Thus, the Kendall Wright was dejectedly kicked back into my trade fodder box, where it rested, forgotten, for the next few years as the Bears roster turnover got crazier and crazier during the Marc Trestman and then the Ryan Pace/John Fox administrations.  Now, in 2017, that rapid turnover has brought Kendall back out of my trade box and into a place of glory in my Bears All-Time Roster Collection.  Oh, happy days!

Anyway, since I basically treat this blog as my own, personal card diary, I thought I should share this little twist of fate on it's pages.  Let this be a lesson to all you young card collectors out there, don't let yourself slip into autopilot mode when sorting cards - it may not always work out in the end...

Or should I say, it may not always turn out Al-Wright in the end.


  1. I got you covered with Cruz. I'll put it in the stack I've been stashing away.

  2. I would/will blame tiny font on the card backs for slip ups in my collection.