Tamarick Vanover - Wide Receiver/Kick Returner - 1994 - Florida State
Tamarick Vanover spent two seasons at Florida State, the Tallahassee Florida native was named a first-team All-American in 1992 as a freshman returning kicks. He finished his career at Florida State with 87 receptions for 1,123 yards and seven scored played just two seasons for Seminoles. He earned national recognition for his return prowess, bringing back 13 kickoffs for 523 yards and two scores for whopping 40.2-yard average and was named Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of Year in 1992. Vanover ran into some off-field issues and decided to turn professional after his junior year.
The Las Vegas Posse joined the CFL in 1994 and immediately pursued Vanover as their marquee player. Vanover signed with Las Vegas for a reported $100,000 contract and it was hoped his name in college football and talent on the field would spur on the first year club. Nick Mileti (pictured) had his big name for his new team in Vanover.
-excerpted from: The Canadian Football League: The Phoenix of Professional Sports Leagues by Steve O'Brien pg.105
In his first game in the CFL an exhibition contest versus B.C. Vanover called for a fair catch, then watched as the ball bounced away and was recovered by B.C. in the Posse end zone for a touchdown. On the ensuing kick-off, Vanover picked up the ball, ran back into the endzone and out of bounds, unaware that this gave the Lions a safety.
Vanover played in 15 games, catching 23 passes for 385 yards (16.7 avg.) with three TDs. He returned 31 kickoffs for 718 yards (23.1 avg.) with a 90-yard score and added 36 punt returns for 341 yards (9.5 avg.) with a 105-yard TD return. He also had one rushing attempt for six yards.
Following the season Vanover's rights were transferred to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers as the defunct Posse player entered a dispersal draft. Vanover's career in the CFL was over however, as he was selected in the third round of the 1995 NFL draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. Following negotiations with his contract Vanover joined the Chiefs.
-By ADAM TEICHER - The Kansas City Star - April 14, 2000
Although he wasn't a top pick, he vaulted to prominence in the Chiefs' draft class. Their No. 1 choice that season was an obscure offensive tackle from Michigan named Trezelle Jenkins. The Chiefs had no second pick that year. So Vanover, a wide receiver and kick-return specialist, became the rookie hope. He delivered, but not until after a protracted negotiation to free him from his CFL contract. Vanover showed he was worth the wait in the first game of 1995. He brought back the second-half kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown in helping the Chiefs to a 34-10 win in Seattle.
He scored four more touchdowns that season, including an 86-yard punt return in overtime that gave the Chiefs a thrilling 29-23 win over San Diego on a Monday night at Arrowhead Stadium.
Although Vanover would have more brilliant moments, he never fulfilled the immense promise he flashed that season. He began the 1996 season as a starting wide receiver but was benched before the season was finished. In 1997, he returned to his rookie form as a returner, sparking two victories with touchdown returns. But his playing time at receiver dwindled, and he caught the last pass of his career that season. The Chiefs moved Vanover to running back in 1998, but he was a bust and rarely played. His kick returns suffered as well. He failed to score a touchdown for the first time in his career. New coach Gunther Cunningham returned Vanover to receiver in 1999 and dragged him back into the headlines. During training camp, Cunningham promised big things for Vanover as a receiver and even jokingly threatened the job of his offensive assistants if they didn't find ways to get Vanover the ball. They didn't. Vanover was strictly a returner last season and even at that started the season poorly. Just as Cunningham threatened to replace him in that role, Vanover rekindled his former magic.
He returned a fourth-quarter punt 80 yards for a touchdown and gave the Chiefs a 16-10 win in Denver. The victory kept the Chiefs' hopes alive for a playoff berth. Vanover would be the toast of Kansas City one last time in what turned out to be his final game with the Chiefs. He returned a punt 84 yards for a touchdown in the season finale against Oakland.
The rest of his time with the Chiefs was marked by one negative headline after another. He pleaded guilty this winter to a felony charge of aiding and abetting in the sale of a stolen vehicle after agreeing to cooperate with federal authorities in their continuing investigation of drug-trafficking and stolen-vehicle rings. He was in the news again in March when the Chiefs, faced with having to pay Vanover a $750,000 roster bonus, renegotiated his contract and kept him on the roster rather than release him. The final blow came Friday, when the Chiefs released him after federal authorities unsealed records showing he helped finance a marijuana trafficking ring that involved former Chiefs running back Bam Morris.