Meet Kerry Carter
Redskin fans, meet Kerry Carter. No that isn't the former 49ers defensive end that the Redskins signed through free agency, that's Andre Carter. Kerry is a former Seattle Seahawk who joins the Redskins in 2006 just looking to get noticed.
So what's so interesting about that?
Kerry Carter himself is, actually.
He comes from modest football roots by NFL standards. His football playing days began in Toronto, Ontario, Canada where he spent most of his formative years. He attended Father Henry Carr High School where he was an extraordinary athlete, starring in football, basketball (2-time all-star), volleyball and track. So extraordinary was his high school career, that he was granted the Henry Jerome Award as Canada's very best student athlete (1997-98).
But thanks to a teacher's strike in 1997, Carter would only get one game in his senior year to showcase his football talent. It took playing in a summer league in Canada, nay, dominating a summer league, to capture the attention of the American schools. Carter popped off an astounding 22 touchdowns and pounded out 2300 yards in the eleven game season, and earned MVP honors.
Those football abilities were enough to tout interest from several Big Ten recruiters, but his academic abilities may be the reason that he eventually chose Stanford. At Stanford, Carter had a very solid football career. As a four-year letter winner from 1999-2002, he would finish eighth on Stanford's career rushing list (2,039 yards). He was also fourth in career rushing touchdowns (23), seventh in career touchdowns (25), and the only player to ever score four touchdowns in a single game on two occasions.
But it was in college where Kerry Carter began to distance himself from fellow athletes in other regards. He got involved with the Center for A New Generation, a part of the Boys and Girls Club Peninsula. The organization is dedicated to providing young people from the financially destitute Ravenswood City School District with a quality education and the realistic opportunity to attend college. Carter also volunteered his time reading to children, and helping them to read. He developed a passion for educating children about the paths that they can take in their lives. His website says that his goal is to, "someday create a successful program that exposes children to athletics and motivates them to aim higher in life and go for their college degrees."
He graduated from Stanford with a degree in Cultural and Social Anthropology, but was not drafted following his senior season. The Seattle Seahawks signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2003. He saw special teams action in all sixteen games in 2003, and again in 2004 when he had 21 kick returns for 448 yards. He also saw time at running back in 2004 and carried the ball twice for 15 yards before being released following the 2005 preseason. While in Seattle he also served as the Sports Ambassador of the Starlight Foundation, which grants wishes to seriously ill children.
Kerry comes to the Washington Redskins with likely the same goal that he had with the Seahawks, just to find a way to stick. He enters a unique situation, in that he's joined by another running back that comes from similar Canadian football roots in Jesse Lumsden. It can't happen very often that two Canadian players are at an NFL training camp vying for the same position. That common bond will only help both players. Unfortunately, it's likely that one's success spells the other's demise.
Carter is the kind of player that you like to route for. He's an underdog. A guy giving it literally everything that he's got to earn an NFL pay cheque. Perhaps more importantly though, he's a guy that's trying to make a positive difference in young people's lives and ultimately, isn't that a lot more important than football?
This article was released on 2006-05-17.
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