Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Give Buddy Ryan Credit For Helping Cris Carter

Sports Illustrated's Peter King includes ex-Eagle Cris Carter on his list of potential 2010 NFL Hall of Fame inductees, along with Dick LeBeau, Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith, Richard Dent, and Russ Grimm. If so, ESPN and others will certainly enjoy themselves at former coach Buddy Ryan's expense for his famous quote, "All he does is catch touchdowns."

Ryan, however, did Carter a huge favor by cutting him before the 1990 season. I covered the Eagles in 1989 for Eagles Digest and Carter was a sullen, moody, selfish player. He later admitted that he was abusing drugs and alcohol and that Ryan helped him turn around his personal life.

He joined the Vikings, and after getting clean became second to Jerry Rice all-time in receptions and touchdowns by a receiver. He was an eight-time Pro Bowler and one of just five players in NFL history with more than 1,000 receptions.

So if Carter indeed makes the Hall of Fame in 2010, let's give a little less grief and a little more credit to Buddy Ryan, who gave Carter the reality check that saved his career.

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