Join a wistful AFC East chat at 3 p.m.

I've been depressed lately over this week's disclosure Topps will not be printing football cards anymore.

Football cards, specifically the 1979 Topps set, sparked my love for sports. It wasn't my father, my big brother or a television as much as it was a stack of waxed-up, 3-by-5 pieces of cardboard with pictures of football players on them.

I sorted and shuffled those cards until Joe DeLamielleure's headband came off. How else would I have known who Jimbo Elrod was, or Keith Krepfle, Eason Ramson, Bucky Dilts or Luther Blue?

Where else would I have learned that Walter Payton's interests include the CB radio, Reggie Rucker had uncanny leaping ability or that Jim Zorn was one of the Seahawks' most eligible bachelors?

If not for Topps football cards, all of that information surely would have escaped me. I probably wouldn't be writing about sports for a living, let alone been exposed to Conrad Dobler's club arm, Joe Washington's goggles or Barty Smith's neck roll.

So excuse me if I'm a little sentimental about Topps not making football cards anymore. We might as well pass a federal ban on whiffle ball while we're at it.

If you'd like to, drop by my chat at 3 p.m. and share your favorite sports card memories.

For those unfamiliar with the way my chats operate, it's a free-form deal, where we'll cover all sorts of turf.

We'll obviously yap about Sunday night's monster showdown between the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts, the latest on Terrell Owens' hip injury, the state of the Wildcat offense and the New York Jets' playoff chances. The regulars will pop in with questions about video games, potent potables and the usual taunts that I don't know what I'm talking about.

But it never hurts -- OK, maybe it aches a little -- to pay tribute to childhood memories.