Over the weekend, Cris Carter was one of five people inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame; Carter entered the Hall as a long-time member of the Minnesota Vikings. Over 20 years ago, he was recruited to come play for the New York Giants by someone he was enshrined with on Saturday, Bill Parcells.
It was the 1990 season and Carter had been waived by the Philadelphia Eagles and the then-Giants head coach had interest in adding Carter to a receiving group that included Stephen Baker and Mark Ingram. Parcells called Carter once he hit the waiver wire and asked him how long it would take for him to get to Giants Stadium because he was going to claim him off waivers.
At the time, Carter, a 25-year-old who was just getting started in the league, definitely showed interest in coming to the Giants, as he recalled from the process that happened 23 years ago.
"Coach, it would take me a couple of hours. I'll pack a bag. I'm right here in Cherry Hill (New Jersey). Let me talk to my wife. I'll be right there," said Carter.
However, Parcells called Carter back about 20 minutes later to tell him that he would not be joining the Giants, but instead, the Vikings. The Vikings and Giants were the only two teams who made a claim on Carter, as Jarrett Bell of USA Today wrote over the weekend during the induction weekend, but because the Vikings that year had a worse record, they were awarded Carter over the Giants.
Carter went on to have a Hall of Fame career, as he caught 1,101 passes for 13,899 yards and 80 touchdowns and played the next 12 seasons with the Vikings. He played his last season in the league with the Miami Dolphins in 2002 before retiring.
That phone call that Parcells made to Carter always stuck with him and gave him the motivation he needed to excel in the league.
"To me, it put wind under my sails," Carter recalled. "When I was at the darkest point in my life, it gave me some confidence that I could play some ball. When Buddy Ryan told me I couldn't play, Bill Parcells told me I could play
Carter had been released by the Eagles and their then-head coach Buddy Ryan due to his problems with alcohol, specifically ecstasy and marijuana. Once Carter got to Minnesota, his career took off and was able to establish himself as a premier wide receiver in the league who lead the league in touchdowns three separate times while making eight Pro Bowls.
If Carter had been a member of the Giants, who knows how his career would have gone. But after finding out that Parcells made a strong attempt to land him back in 1990, it is quite fitting that Parcells and Carter end up in the Hall of Fame together as the Class of 2013.
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