Addendum: According to MEARS, Campbell wore this jersey circa 1981-84. "Spandex side panel inserted directly under armpit serves as a gusset. A hand-warmer is applied to front. Period images support the style of the shirt, sleeve length, spandex gusset, and hand warmer as being correct for Campbell during the [1981-84] era." Initial photo-match to 12/28/1980 playoff game at Oakland is not ruled out; hand-warmer may have been added to same jersey the following season.
Over 30 years have passed since the great Earl Campbell rumbled into, through and over his opponents on the football field, displaying that special combination of speed, size and power we all remember so fondly. No running back actively sought out contact from would-be tacklers and imposed his will on them quite like the “Tyler Rose”—a nickname bestowed on him due to his Texas roots. Only three players in history have won the Heisman Trophy, been selected #1 overall in the NFL draft, and been inducted into both the Pro Football and College Football Hall of Fame—and Earl’s one of them. Campbell established himself as not just the best running back, but the best player in the NFL his first four seasons (1978-81), rushing for an astounding 6,457 yards and 55 touchdowns over that span and earning three straight league MVP awards with the Houston Oilers. Unfortunately, the punishment he dished out would wear down his 5’ 11”, 244-lb. body and force him into early retirement in 1985 at the age of 30.
Presented here is one of the finest and most significant Earl Campbell game-worn jerseys ever offered, blessed with an abundance of the wear-and-tear one would expect from the brutality with which he ran. According to MEARS, it hails from circa 1981-84 during the latter part of his Oilers tenure. The white mesh pullover has the 5-time Pro Bowler's retired number "34" heat-pressed to the front, back and sleeves in blue-on-red block-style numerals, with "CAMPBELL" appliqued to a white nameplate on the upper back in solid blue. A blue-and-red striped pattern adorns both custom-trimmed sleeves. The Medalist Sand-Knit manufacturer's tagging with size "46” and a “Designed & Tailored Exclusively for the Houston Oilers” label appears at the left front tail. Campbell has signed both the front and the back in black Sharpie, adding a “HOF 91” inscription on the reverse side.
A plethora of contact marks, paint transfers, small tears in the mesh, and sweat stains—plus what appears to be blood in the front left shoulder area—covers this jersey throughout. The presence of a custom hand pocket to keep Earl’s hands warm during those cold November and December road games further strengthens this awesome gamer’s impeccable authenticity.
Includes MEARS letter with perfect A10 grade. Autographs pre-certified by PSA/DNA.