Several hours before it was revealed that the high school football stadium former Ohio State wide receiver Cris Carter grew up playing at was to be renamed in his honor, we caught up with the long overdue Pro Football Hall of Famer. In this very special edition of '5 minutes in the Holy Land', we talk Big Ten, the Hall of Fame, his son (and former OSU receiver) Duron Carter, and more.
After being recognized by Canton for an exceptional NFL career, tell us a little about what it's like to get recognized again here at your hometown.
It's great for the Hall of Fame to partner with the All-State [who are putting on the Hometown Hall of Famers program]. Everybody comes from somewhere, and it's great to have a grassroots movement to honor where we came from. Our careers could have gone in lots of different directions without the parents, aunties, little league coaches, and everybody from our communities providing support.
After your long and productive career with the Vikings, how does it feel to see your son [Duron Carter] getting a chance to make the team as well?
It's an exciting time for him, and it's an exciting time for our family. It's great that the Vikings have given him a first step towards his goal of making a career in pro football. Now, actually making it in the NFL is very difficult, but it sure is nice to see him in that purple uniform.
Is there any young player, either still in college or young in the NFL, that reminds you of you?
I can't think of anybody, since I don't really look at kids that way. Larry Fitzgerald plays very similar, but not the same. I had a unique style of playing from 20 years ago, and the game has changed. I haven't seen anybody similar to Jerry Rice or [Lynn] Swann either. Your uniqueness makes you different.
On that note, we've seen several high profile Big Ten wideouts struggle when they make the transition from college football to the NFL. What do you think are some of the biggest reasons for that longer adjustment period?
One of the biggest they don't see is a lot of man-to-man coverage. Press coverage is one of the toughest things to get used to. The quality of defensive backs in the Big Ten is good, but not as good as good as the SEC. That's also a factor.
There are also not a lot of pro style offenses in the Big Ten. Speed of the game is quicker everywhere, but transition into a pro style just makes for another difficult adjustment.
Maybe the biggest transition in going to the pros is adjusting to football as a 24 hour job. Some kids might think it's easier since they don't have school anymore, but it isn't!
Looking back on your career, who was your favorite teammate to play with?:
Jake Reed. We spent so much time together, on and off the field. We made a pact with each other; we made a lot of goals behind the scenes (get married, have kids, watch them grow up), and we've grown very close. He was my favorite person that I played with.
After looking at your career, does any defensive back stand out as being particularly tough?
Ronnie Lott was the most intimidating. When you watch the film, he struck fear in people. He was a true sportsman and a true competitor, but fierce on the football field.
Thanks again to Cris for his time.