Clarence Verdin was one of the
best special teams players in the brief history of the USFL, and holds the league record for longest kickoff return
(102 yards vs. San Antonio on April 28, 1985). Verdin was the top return man in the league during the 1985 season, and was
fittingly a member of the All-USFL Team.
Here are several photos of the back of this coveted home black jersey. The shirt shows moderate
use, with minor cracking present on the heavily-screened white numerals. After almost 25 years, the jersey has maintained
its soft but durable feel. Like most Gamblers jerseys, it has aged quite well.
reasons unknown to us, the number "8" turned out a bit strange on some Gamblers jerseys -- especially those
worn by Clarence Verdin and fellow receiver Scott McGhee. We're not sure of the exact process that was used to stencil the
numbers on the jerseys, but we do know that some interesting-looking "8s" made it on to the field. As the back photos
show, the two middle squares of this eight do not quite align with each other. The top square of the eight is off-center left
to right (the white area to the left is 4 cm wide, while the white area to the right is 5 1/2 cm). In addition,
the center line that seperates the two squares is a bit skinny... Compare the center horizontal line of the "8"
with that of the "9", and you'll see a noticeable difference in size.
Update: A January, 2009 interview
with Gamblers Assistant Equipment Manager Albert Veytia revealed that Gamblers jersey numbers were screened on locally by
Oshman's Sporting Goods. Veytia would deliver blank jerseys to Oshman's to have the screened numbers added and nameplates
sewn on the backs.
Houston-Gamblers.com believes this jersey
was worn by Verdin against the Portland Breakers on March 24, 1985 (based on limited video evidence), but will continue to
search for additional clues.
Below are game shots of receivers Scott McGhee and Clarence Verdin on the field wearing "crazy
eights." It's hard to imagine unique jerseys like these being worn in the modern-day NFL!
This closeup of the jersey back shows the dark print of a cleated shoe across
the number "9." For Clarence's sake, we can only hope the player wearing this shoe was a 140 pound defensive back!
An overall view of the jersey front. Like the vast majority Gamblers jerseys I
have seen, there is just one tag present (on the front left tail). The tag has been sewn on using the typical white thread.
I have never seen a Gamblers jersey with any kind of special tagging to reflect modifications.
This jersey is tagged as a size 40, but seems to fit a bit more loosely. Like most "skill position"
players of the day, Verdin wore a jersey without spandex sleeves or sides. Even with excellent wear, the jersey
has no team repairs -- typical for a player who did not spend much time blocking in the trenches.
look at the left shoulder and sleeve, including cracking in the number "8."
Here's an "inside-out" photo
of the jersey, which reveals the fact that the red number borders were actually applied before the white layer on
Gamblers black home jerseys. A unique, hidden characteristic of this jersey is the strips of two-sided carpet tape placed across
the backs of the numbers. According to Gamblers Assistant Equipment Manager Albert Veytia, several players preferred
using the tape to help the jersey stick to pads, thus making it harder for potential tacklers to grab hold of the
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