Picked up from Southwest Texas State by the expansion Houston Gamblers in the 1984 USFL Territorial Draft, wide receiver Ricky Sanders saw playing near his hometown and alongside fellow rookie QB Jim Kelly as preferable to playing in the NFL.  His signing with the Gamblers proved to be a choice that would set his career on a faster track than most would have expected.

A key part of the Gamblers high-flying "run and shoot" offense, Sanders caught an astounding 101 passes for 1,378 yards and 11 touchdowns.  Seeing as how Sanders total eclipsed that of 1983 "record holder" Trumaine Johnson by 20 catches, you'd think Sanders would hold the USFL record - but he didn't, in fact he didn't even lead his own team in receptions, as Richard Johnson would snare 115 catches for the Gamblers.  The pass catching duo would help lead the expansion team to an impressive 13-5-0 record in its first season, winning the USFL Central Division title in the process.  The following year Sanders made less of an impact, but still caught 48 passes and 7 for touchdowns to help the Gamblers return to the post-season.  Among those retained in the New Jersey Generals-Houston Gamblers merger after the 1985 season, he'd never wear the red, white and blue as the USFL closed up shop. 

Moving on to the NFL and the Washington Redskins, Sanders would go on to play ten years in the NFL and eight in Washington.  With the Redskins he would be part of two NFL championship teams, winning Super Bowls XXII and XXVI.  After the 1993 season Sanders joined the Atlanta Falcons for two years, then wound up his career in 1995 with Redskins teammate Gary Clark as a member of the Miami Dolphins.


Houston Gamblers


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