Remembering Carolina WR Patrick Jeffers

Discussion in 'Carolina Panthers' started by ToughJ.Riggins, Mar 17, 2009.

  1. ToughJ.Riggins

    ToughJ.Riggins Hall of Famer

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    I thought this deserved it's own thread in the Carolina forum due to little activity here.

    DD Comment: On small school old time player Bucky Pope of Catawba College:
    Every time I see anything about Catawba football I think about that Bucky Pope story -- snubbed small school star, who turned into a potential N.F.L. mega-star as a rookie in 1964, but saw his career quicky destroyed by a knee injury. Closest thing we can think of in recent memory is Patrick Jeffers. But he wasn't a rookie when he had his one and only monster (half) season back in 1999, before his career pretty much ended in a meaningless 2000 pre-season game, due to an "OBVIOUS CHEAP SHOT" to the knee.
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    I think Don had mentioned before that it was a cheap hit. With even a mainstream site like Draftdaddy now acknowledging this: it must have been a truly extremely cheap hit. Draftdaddy would likely be more afraid of offending readers by citing a cheap shot by a player. I believe it was from a black Safety of the Steelers, Ryan Clark, I believe.

    This is too bad, because in 10 games started Jeffers had 1082 yards receiving, 17.2 YPC and 12 TDs with a long of 88 showing his ability to stretch the field. That is an insane stretch of production. Who knows why Clark took a cheap hit at Jeffers' knee. Clark also had a cheap hit on Willis McGahee according to a message board I saw, so he seems to be a dirty player.

    But in a pre-season game? You wonder if Clark had a clear vendetta against Jeffers for some reason; certainly a big possibility. It's a shame because Jeffers could have been that BIG white ATHLETIC WR who was even better than McCaffrey in the modern era.

    Not quite as athletic, but he would have been more polished than Matt Jones's game is as of now, if he had kept playing. [​IMG] Edited by: ToughJ.Riggins
     
  2. DWFan

    DWFan Mentor

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    Thanks for posting that. I didn't know anything about his college career, but he was my favorite player back in his NFL days.
    When he was playing, I had a job where I was always off on Sundays. I based my decision on what restaurant to hang out at on which one was showing a Panthers game. I remember once when he scored a touchdown, the blacks in his proximity went ahead and tried to injure him way after it was obvious that the play was over. Talk about eye-opening.
    Patrick Jeffers was one hell of a wideout.
     
  3. devans

    devans Mentor

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    Jeffers was brought into the NFL by that astute duo of Polian and Levy when they were at the Bills. Those guys knew good football players and were not afraid to bring white backs and receivers into the league.
     
  4. Don Wassall

    Don Wassall Administrator Staff Member

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    It was Chad Scott who hit Jeffers in the knee during an exhibition game in 2000, the same Chad Scott that was famously pictured in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette punching Danny Farmer (his putative "teammate") that same preseason.


    Jeffers was fantastic the second half of the 1999 season. So were Keith Poole and Tim Dwight, who like Jeffers started to play a lot only in the second half of the season. All three finished in the top four in the league in yards per reception in '99. Jeffers, Bill Schroeder and Ed McCaffrey went over 1,000 yards receiving. Wayne Chrebet had his usual solid season. The '99 season, particularly the second half of it,was an unforgettable one for white receivers, a glimpse of what should be in the NFL.


    Here's CF's archives on Jeffers from '02 and '03. The third entry, dated 8/21/02, is the key one to read:


    PATRICK JEFFERS

    (8/13/03) I periodically do Google searches trying to find any info on Jeffers, particularly to see if there was any hope of him resuming his career. Today a story made the news â€â€￾- Jeffers has sued the Carolina Panthers and the surgeon who operated on him on August 20, 2000, alleging malpractice. The career of this potential all-time great is indeed over. Read the description below of his mostly unnoticed 1999 season to see what could have been. Here is the link to the article about the malpractice suit: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/news/2003/08/13/je ffers_lawsuit_ap/

    (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.

    (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, following which the announcers said nothing about him other than his name. 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.




    Edited by: Don Wassall
     
  5. PhillyBirds

    PhillyBirds Mentor

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    Makes me wish I could remember a season like 1999. A terrible thing that most of these guys have been lost to history.
     
  6. DWFan

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    1999 was by far the most fun season I've had watching football. Wideout is my favorite position to follow, and the whites proved they could do it for sure, that year.
    It was bittersweet in that they were constantly under threat of deliberate injury, though. Anyone who watched a good number of games in '99 can't honestly say that they weren't.
     
  7. ToughJ.Riggins

    ToughJ.Riggins Hall of Famer

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    This is interesting info on all the '99 white WRs that exploded statistically when given a chance. I had forgotten how many there were that year. Then they just fell into obscurity again by way of the caste system (hope the same doesn't happen to Curtis and M. Jones). So it was Chad Scott- not Ryan Harris- that made the cheap hit. Chad Scott is the villain. [​IMG]
     

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