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Cris Carter Biography

Cris Carter Biography

By Loot, NFL Handicapper,

Cris Carter became one of the league’s greatest all-time receivers, despite having a lot of rough patches along the way. His trajectory to the top of the sport was atypical, with Carter not notching his first 1000-yard season until he was in his 7th NFL season. The late-blooming Carter then put together 8 consecutive 1000-yard seasons as he established himself as one of the league’s greats and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Carter was a high school star in football and basketball. He enrolled at Ohio State, where he intended to play both sports. But after showing immense potential as a receiver, he decided to focus on football. Carter showed in his first three seasons with the Buckeyes that he had the skills needed to be a premier ball-catcher. Prior to his senior season, he signed with an agent and was thus ruled ineligible. Carter was chosen by Philadelphia in the 4th round of the supplemental draft. It would take some time before his star began to shine.

His rookie season saw Carter catch only 5 balls. He upped his production in 1988 with 39 catches for 761 yards. In 1989, he caught 45 balls, with 11 of them being for touchdowns. This period of time in Carter’s career was characterized by a reckless lifestyle and the use of various substances. It would be interesting to watch Carter morph from a troubled kid to a hard-working veteran and a high-quality and valued teammate. At the time, however, he was a liability and Buddy Ryan decided he wouldn’t be part of the Eagles’ future.

Minnesota swooped in and claimed Carter off waivers prior to the 1990 season. After a slow first season with the Vikings, Carter became a high priority in the Minnesota pass attack. He went from 27 catches in 1990 to 72 in 1991. A broken collarbone in 1992 forced him to miss the end of the season, as his catches total dipped to 53. It was the calm before the storm, as Carter soon became one of the very top receivers in the NFL.


In 1993, Carter notched his first of many 1000-yard seasons. Carter and new QB Jim McMahon established some nice chemistry and the Vikings made the playoffs. Soon, the aging and banged-up McMahon was out and another veteran was brought in--aerial savant Warren Moon. This is where Carter was able to kick his game up another notch.

Carter’s record-breaking 1994 campaign put him right at the top of the pile. He broke the NFL single-season receptions record with an incredible 122 catches. The Vikings would again get bounced early from the playoffs, but Carter’s star was rising. Incredibly, he also caught 122 balls in 1995, to go along with a league-leading 17 touchdown catches.

The lack of a consistent presence at quarterback didn’t seem to affect Carter, who by 1996, was now catching balls thrown by new QB Brad Johnson. Carter showed the ability to work with anyone and kept the momentum going with Johnson, catching 263 balls in the next 3 seasons, while going over 1000 yards for the 4th, 5th, and 6th consecutive times.

In 1998, Carter again had a new quarterback in Randall Cunningham, in addition to the arrival of phenom WR Randy Moss. It didn’t stop Carter from having another 1000-yard season, as the Vikings had their best-ever regular season at 15-1. A heartbreaker in the NFC title game kept them out of the Super Bowl.

Age didn’t seem to be affecting Carter, as he caught 90 balls in 1999 and 96 more in 2000, while already in his mid-thirties. He led the league in touchdowns in 1999 and was still as deadly a pass-catcher as there was in the league. He appeared to be clicking well with new quarterback Daunte Culpepper, but alas, age is an inescapable element and it eventually caught up to the great Carter.

Minnesota suffered to a 5-11 mark in 2001, with Carter still productive, but showing signs of wear and age. Following the 2001 season, Carter looked for a new team, eventually landing in Miami, where he spent his final season, where injuries and age prevented him from making much of an impact. He retired following the season. When it was all said and done, Carter stood among the NFL all-time receiving greats with 1101 receptions, 13899 yards, and 130 touchdowns.

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