Early in his 15-year career spanning the NFL, USFL and AFL, linebacker John Corker led the 1983 Panthers to their historic first USFL championship, earning Defensive Player of the Year honors for his 28.5 sacks. Corker later excelled in the Arena Football League, steering the Detroit Drive to two ArenaBowl titles. In 2002, "Sack Man" was inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame, and in 2012 he landed the 14th slot on the "25 Greatest Players in AFL History" list. Presented is Corker's battle-scarred Panthers helmet with bumps, bruises, abrasions and color transfers throughout. The Riddell headgear features decal numerals of "57", two large logos, and "PANTHERS" on the front facing. Our consignor obtained the helmet from Equipment Manager Ottie Steien via Detroit sportswriter Jim Hawkins (signed LOA from both), then later attended AFL pre-game warm-ups and acquired Corker's blue-ink "7-8" signature "SAC-MAN / John Corker / #57." No JSA LOA for lack of exemplars. More on our website.
According to our consignor, Corker initially declined the in-person autograph request at a Detroit Drive home game, but after seeing that the helmet was actually his own from his Panthers days, he said, "Oh, man!" and bestowed his signature. This item is accompanied by a 1982 Detroit News original news-service photo from the unveiling of the Panthers helmet design.