Calgary Stampeders

Erik Kramer - Quarterback - 1988-89 - North Carolina State

 

Erik Kramer graduated out of North Carolina State University. He started his professional career signing with the New Orleans Saints in 1987 as a free agent, he was released by the Saints on August 31, 1987. From there Kramer was signed by the Atlanta Falcons as a replacement player during the players strike of 1987. Erik started all 4 strike games for Atlanta. Following the resolution of the strike he was released.

 

From there Kramer signed on with the Calgary Stampeders in September of 1988. He saw action in 5 games for Calgary throwing for 5 touchdowns but also 13 interceptions. He returned for training camp in 1989 ready to challenge with Tom Porras and Terrence Jones for starting quarterback duties but he injured his knee in training camp and missed the entire 1989 season. Kramer was released outright from the club and thus ended his stay in Canadian Football.

 

Kramer then moved on to the NFL signing with the Detroit Lions in 1990 from there in 1991 and beyond he established himself as a reliable starting quarterback. He enjoyed his best season in 1995 with Chicago passing for 3,838 yards and 29 touchdowns with only 10 interceptions. Erik's final season was in 1999 when he filled in for an ineffective Ryan Leaf with the San Diego Chargers. From a replacement player to disappointing totals in the Canadian Football League to an established starting quarterback in the NFL Erik Kramer proved that persistence can pay off in professional football.

 

Wake the herd - Blog

In many ways, Erik Kramerís climb to NFL stardom is like the Lionsí version of Kurt Warner. He was undrafted coming out of college in 1987 after a stellar career at North Carolina State, where he broke eight school passing records and was named ACC Player of the Year as a senior. He was signed, and released, by the New Orleans Saints in the 1987 preseason. Then he signed with the Atlanta Falcons as a replacement player on September 24 of that year, starting in all three replacement games for the Falcons during the 1987 players strike. Erik was released by the Falcons in September of 1988. He then migrated north to the Canadian Football Leagueís Calgary Stampeders, playing in five games for them in Ď88. Then in 1989, he missed the entire CFL season due to a knee injury, and was released by Calgary on July 4th of that same year.

Kramer then arrived in Detroit, signing with the team as a free-agent in March of 1990. He was almost passed over by the Lions, if not for a chance last-minute workout set up by then-Lionsí offensive coordinator Mouse Davis at the University of Michiganís practice facility. Unfortunately, the injury menace would hit Kramer again during the 1990 preseason. He suffered a shoulder injury in an exhibition game versus the Kansas City Chiefs that year, forcing him to miss the entire regular season.

The stars would finally line up for the resilient Kramer in 1991. He entered the year as the third-string QB, behind the incumbent Rodney Peete, and Heisman Trophy-winning-newcomer Andre Ware. Erik would move into the backup spot behind Peete by the end of training camp. Kramer would watch as the Lions would storm out to a 5-2 start behind Rodney. However on October 27, in a home game versus the Dallas Cowboys, Peete suffered a season ending Achilles injury, giving Erik Kramer his first shot at leading a real NFL squad.

After tough road losses versus Chicago and Tampa Bay in his first two Lion starts, Kramer caught fire. He would lead the Leos on a seven-game winning streak, with the seventh win being a 38-6 playoff thumping of Dallas at the Silverdome. In that game, Erik would complete 29-of-38 passes for a Lion playoff-record 341 yards and three touchdowns. The Lions would lose on the road to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Washington Redskins the following week in the NFC Championship. Nevertheless, at seasonís end there was little debate about the fact that Erik Kramer was the toast of Motown.

Strangely, head coach Wayne Fontes would name Peete as the starter going into the 1992 season. After the Lions got off to a 2-8 start, Erik was re-named the starter, going 1-2, before being replaced in the last three games by the third-string Ware. Fontes would continue the quarterback shuffle the following season, with all three players seeing action during the year. It would be Kramer however who would lead Detroit into the post-season, going 3-1 in his four starts down the stretch to help the Lions grab the NFC Central title. His final game in a Lion uniform would end at home, with a Wildcard Playoff loss to Brett Favreís Green Bay Packers 28-24.

Erik would sign with the division-rival Chicago Bears in early 1994. In 1995, he would break Hall-of-Famer Sid Luckmanís 51-year-old team record for touchdown passes in a single-season with 29. Kramer had three more injury-plagued seasons in Chicago, before being released by the Bears after the 1998 season. He would play one final season with the San Diego Chargers before more injuries would force him to call it a career. He remains the only Lion quarterback since Tobin Rote in 1957 to lead the Lions to a playoff victory.
 

-- statistics --

 

Erik Kramer   North Carolina State  
    Passing          
Yr Team Att Cmp Yds Pct. TD Int Lg
1988 Cgy 153 62 964 40.5 5 13 62
Total 1 153 62 964 40.5 5 13 62

 

    Rushing    
Yr Team C Yds Avg Lg TD
1988 Cgy 12 17 1.4 26 1
Total 1 12 17 1.4 26 1

 

-- NFL --

 

 

    Passing        
Yr Team Att Cmp Yds Pct. TD Int Lg
1987 Atl 92 45 559 48.9 4 5 33
1991 Det 265 136 1,635 51.3 11 8 73
1992 Det 106 58 771 54.7 4 8 77
1993 Det 138 87 1,002 63.0 8 3 48
1994 Chi 158 99 1,129 62.7 8 8 85
1995 Chi 522 315 3,838 60.3 29 10 76
1996 Chi 150 73 781 48.7 3 6 58
1997 Chi 477 275 3,011 57.7 14 14 78
1998 Chi 250 151 1,823 60.4 9 7 79
1999 SD 141 78 788 55.3 2 10 41
Total 10 2299 1317 15,337 57.3 92 79 78

 

    Rushing    
Yr Team C Yds Avg Lg TD
1987 Atl 2 10 5.0 11 0
1991 Det 35 26 0.7 12 1
1992 Det 12 34 2.8 11 0
1993 Det 10 5 0.5 4 0
1994 Chi 6 -2 -0.3 2 0
1995 Chi 35 39 1.1 11 1
1996 Chi 8 4 0.5 3 0
1997 Chi 27 83 3.1 31 2
1998 Chi 13 17 1.3 8 1
1999 SD 5 1 0.2 3 0
Total 10 153 217 1.4 16 5