Cris Carter, finally an NFL Hall of Famer. - Getty Images
From Troy, to Columbus, to Philly, to Minneapolis...to Canton
Former Ohio State wide receiver and NFL great Cris Carter had finally been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Carter, from Troy, Ohio, was one of the most heavily recruited players out of the state of Ohio, but came to Columbus to play for Earle Bruce.
Carter became one of the most prolific receivers in OSU history, and was a first team All-American in 1986, catching 65 passes for 1,066 yards, and 11 TD's. He became known for his body control, and an uncanny ability to make one handed sideline catches on his tiptoes.
He also did this in the Citrus Bowl, a catch that OSU quarterback Jim Karsatos called 'the best catch in college football history:
Said Karsatos: "When I finally saw it on film, he was tiptoeing the sidelines and he jumped up and caught the ball left-handed by the point of the football at least a yard out of bounds. Then he somehow levitated back in bounds to get both his feet in bounds. I swear to this day he actually levitated to get back in bounds. When I saw it on film, it just blew me away."
The Buckeyes looked to be on the short list for a national title run in 1987, but their season was derailed before it began, as it was discovered Carter had signed with agent Norby Walters. He was declared ineligible and went into the NFL via the supplemental draft. Despite his early exit to the NFL, Carter is still the all-time Buckeyes leading receiver, with 168 catches all time, was elected to the OSU all century team in 2000, and in 2003 was elected into the Ohio State Varsity O Hall of Fame.
He began his NFL career with the Philadelphia Eagles, and after three troubled but fairly productive seasons with the Eagles, coach Buddy Ryan cut him and he was picked up by the Vikings off the waiver wire for $100.
It was the best hundred bucks the Vikings would ever spend.
To help Carter try and get on with another team, Ryan didn't tell the press he cut him because of his personal problems, but he cut him because "all he does is catch touchdowns." ESPN commentator Chris Berman would run that into the ground over the years, but for Vikings fans, they didn't care.
Carter would go on to have 12 highlight filled seasons with the Vkings, and when he retired he was second in almost every major receiving category in NFL history, and was one of only two players to have over 1,000 receptions when he retired. He made 8 Pro Bowls, had back to back seasons of 122 receptions (which was a single season NFL record at the time), and made some of the most ridiculous, sideline catches in NFL history.
When Carter retired, most Vikings fans assumed he would be a first ballot Hall of Famer, but because of his sometimes combative personality, or lack of Super Bowl wins by the Vikings, he had to wait until his 6th year of eligibility to get the call.
Congratulations to former Buckeye and Viking Cris Carter for an honor that is well deserved, and long overdue.