Seeing all the interest in players from the 1990s and early 2000s as expressed in the 2017 College Football Conference Championship thread, I'm going to re-post early material from Caste Football that's still in word processing form on my old computer, circa 2002 when Caste Football was just starting out in a primitive format. I had surgery three days ago so am home recuperating this month with a lot of time for once, so even though I feel like crap I'm going to post this material over the next few days for anyone who's interested in it. I'll start off with Patrick Jeffers and the unforgettable way he totally dominated defensive backfields during the second half of the 1999 season. PATRICK JEFFERS (8/21/02) Few people, even those who follow the NFL closely, realize how brilliant Patrick Jeffers was in 1999. He had 63 receptions for 1,082 yards (his average of 17.2 yards per catch was third best in the league) and 12 TDs (tied for 2nd in the league), but what is most impressive is that he did it in little more than half a season, and especially toward the end of the season. Jeffers didn’t become a starter until the 7th game of the season in ’99. Before that he had only six receptions. Here’s what Jeffers did after becoming a starter: ▪ 11/7 vs. Philadelphia – 2 catches for 30 yards, including a 21-yard TD ▪ 11/14 vs. St. Louis – 3 catches for 43 yards ▪ 11/21 vs. Cleveland – 3 catches for 34 yards ▪ 11/28 vs. Atlanta – 3 catches for 31 yards and 1 TD ▪ 12/5 vs. St. Louis – 7 catches for 107 yards, and a 71-yard TD ▪ 12/12 vs. Green Bay – 8 catches for 147 yards and TDs of 35 and 38 yards ▪ 12/18 vs. San Francisco – 8 catches for 155 yards and a 55-yard TD ▪ 12/26 vs. Pittsburgh – 5 catches for 160 yards in the snow at Pittsburgh, including TDs of 88 and 43 yards ▪ 1/2 vs. New Orleans – 7 catches for 165 yards with TD catches of 40 and 32 yards Jeffers ended the ’99 season with five straight 100+ receiving games, only two shy of the record, and, most impressively, in those five games he had 8 touchdown catches, all over 30 yards. He continually beat defensive backs with his speed and graceful moves as he broke one big play after another. It is highly unlikely that any NFL receiver has ever had such an amazing stretch of productivity. If Jeffers had been a starter for the entire season instead of just the last nine games he might have broken the single season record for yardage and TDs. Were Jeffers black he would have been made into a household name, ala Randy Moss. Jeffers outproduced Moss and every other receiver in the NFL for the last 2/3 of 1999, yet received little notoriety. Jeffers is 6’3” 218 lbs. He went to college at Virginia, where he was, needless to say given his race, a walk-on. From that lowly start he ended up fourth on the school’s all-time receiving charts. He was drafted by Denver in 1996, but warmed the bench until being traded to Dallas at the beginning of the 1998 season. Given a chance at the end of ’98, Jeffers was very effective, catching 18 balls for 330 yards (18.3 yards per catch) with 2 TDs, including a dramatic 60-yarder from Troy Aikman during the nationally televised Thanksgiving game. He was also Dallas’ only effective offensive weapon in the team’s subsequent playoff loss to Arizona. However, following the ’98 season, there was a large hue and cry that the Cowboys were in desperate need of a number two receiver behind the rapidly declining Michael Irvin. Although Aikman spoke highly of Jeffers and wanted the team to re-sign him, Patrick signed with Carolina as a restricted free agent. The Cowboys could have retained by matching Carolina’s offer but declined to do so and Jeffers went on to his breakout ’99 season. It was four long years before this remarkable talent was finally given an opportunity, and he responded in an unforgettable way. Sadly, that brilliant ’99 season may be the last memory his fans have of him, as Jeffers suffered a torn ACL in his right knee after running a meaningless two-yard route in an exhibition game in August 2000 and missed the entire ’00 season. He has had two surgeries in one knee and one in the other since tearing his ACL. He was limited in ’01 to just 14 catches and 127 yards. Various reports indicate he may not be able to play again in ’02 and that he will retire or be released. It is a sad turn of events for a college walk-on and NFL benchwarmer who was unstoppable when given the chance to produce. (9/1/02) Jeffers was released by the Panthers, an acknowledgement that his rehab, now going into its third year, is not going along well and the team didn’t want to pay him anymore. What a sad, sad ending to what could have been if Jeffers’ career is over.