Louisville, Kentucky’s Cris Dishman was a standout wide receiver at St. Francis DeSales High school. The former wideout was a two time Kentucky All-State team member.
Dishman played collegiately at Purdue University, where he was transitioned to the defensive side of the ball, becoming a member of the All-Big Ten Team in 1987. He also laced up the track spikes and ran the 200-meter and 400-meter dash for the Boilermakers.
Selected by the Houston Oilers in the 5th round of the 1988 NFL Draft, he went on to have a 13-year NFL career, playing in Houston, Kansas City, Minnesota Vikings and Washington. With the Oilers, Dishman was a two time Pro Bowler and a First Team All-Pro in 1991.
We caught up to him to talk about his short stint collecting baseball cards as a kid, his first autograph experience and appreciating seeing himself on a trading card.
Tony Reid–As a professional athlete, you have signed your autograph numerous times. Can you share your first autograph experience with us?
Cris Dishman-I was actually getting out of my car and going into a game at the Astrodome. A fan came up to me, wanting me to sign my card. That was the first time I ever saw my card. I didn’t want to say to the fan ‘Hey, give me one of those cards.’ I just cooled out and signed it and thanked him then I realized I have a card out there!
I always saw baseball cards when I was young. It was crazy to think that I had a card out there and people had it. As the years went on and the games went on, I kept seeing that same card. My mom and dad got those cards. It is a blessing. We still keep those cards and have them today.
TR–That moment when you first see yourself on a trading card is one of those ‘I made it’ moments, whether you are a collector or not.
CD-Yeah it was. I tried to pay it cool. Growing up you always dream of being on a trading card one day. Now it is that one day.
TR-You mentioned holding on to those cards. Do you have a collection or a man cave where you have those great items displayed?
CD– I did at one time. I am into coaching now. In coaching, you might be here one year and there four years and next thing you know, you are off to your next journey. I have been moving so much in the last five years. I was at Menlo College (Atherton, CA) for a few years. I was in Canada for one year with the Montreal Alouettes. I was in New York with the XFL. I have a home back in Louisville. I keep stuff there. I don’t keep much stuff with me. I didn’t want to lose it, so I moved it to my home in Louisville instead of carrying it from place to place.
TR–Your rookie cards were in pretty much every product in 1991 from Pacific and Pinnacle to Pro Set and Topps. Not only was it your rookie card year, you were a Pro Bowler. What are your fondest memories from that season?
CD-My fondest memories were in Miami. I had six straight games with a turnover. Miami was about to score and win the game. Somehow Al Smith, the linebacker was a Smith, too, well he jumped and fumbled the ball. It was right there at my feet. I jumped on it. I got the fumble recovery. That made seven consecutive games where I got a turnover. At the time, no one had ever done that. I don’t know if that record still stands. I haven’t looked it up. That was one of my most memorable moments of keeping that streak alive of having a turnover for seven consecutive games.
TR–Did you collect sports cards as a kid?
CD– My oldest brother Billy and I did. He was into baseball and he was trying to get me into baseball. My baseball career was very short. It was one summer. I never got into the games. The coach never put me in the games. I stuck it out and played the whole season and after that I was done. At the beginning of the year, my brother and I would sit around and trade cards and collect cards. I don’t know if he has that collection today. After I didn’t get into the games, my love of collecting cards faded away.
TR-What football players inspired you growing up?
CD-Growing up in the Louisville, Kentucky, my dad was a huge Cleveland Browns fan. I was always a Raiders fan for some reason. I always loved Mike Haynes and those guys. I was a receiver in high school. My mentality was that I liked watching the defensive backs. When I went to Purdue, they switched me from receiver to defensive back. I was fighting being a defensive back. I think the Lord knew I was eventually going to be a defensive back. I wanted to be a Mike Haynes. I wanted to be Mel Blount. Eventually it came to be.
You can learn more about Cris Dishman’s career and what he’s doing now on his website.