INDIANAPOLIS -- Duron Carter isn’t running from his past. He knows he’s had his fair share of problems.
“The first step is admitting it, right? I got through that point,” the Indianapolis Colts receiver said.
He had the talent to be part of powerhouse football programs at Ohio State and Alabama, but he didn't like school. No, he hated school. He just wanted to play football.
Carter, the son of Hall of Fame receiver and current ESPN analyst Cris Carter, had academic problems at Ohio State and was dismissed from Alabama for a failed drug test and missing a winter conditioning workout.
But that's not how it works. No grades, no football. And that’s why Carter attended four different colleges, played a total of nine games, went undrafted and had to spend two seasons playing in the Canadian Football League.
“Just being immature,” Carter said. “Not taking school serious. I always knew I was a football player and I always wanted to be in the NFL. I didn’t really know the route it took to get there. I messed that opportunity up, a few opportunities, really. And for me, I’m really on my last chance and making sure I do everything day to day, doing everything right, not making any wrong decisions. Don’t shoot myself in the foot. That’s what I always seemed to do before.”
Carter is getting that opportunity, and it’s with a franchise that has a winning tradition and a quarterback in Andrew Luck that many people want to play with.
“He’s great,” Carter said. “I’ve never been around a quarterback like him. He’s just so in-depth with detail. If we miss a route, we’ve got to run it again. Everything is precise and to the point. That’s what you need.”
The Colts signed Carter in February after he had 124 receptions for 1,939 yards and 12 touchdowns in two seasons with the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL. Minnesota, Carolina, Washington, San Francisco and Cleveland were all interested in Carter.
But nobody knows what type of NFL player Carter will be.
Colts coach Chuck Pagano referred to Duron Carter as an unknown because he has never taken a snap in an NFL game.
“The speed of the game,” Carter said when asked about the difference between the CFL and NFL. “You’re dealing with the top 1 percent of athletes. Watching film, guys aren’t taking plays off. Defenses are running to the ball full-speed. Really for me is getting in the film room. Knowing the correct depth, correct angles and just hitting the ground running.”
Nothing will be given to Carter. Receiving roles will sort themselves out in training camp with T.Y. Hilton and Andre Johnson expected to be the top players at that position. Everything else is up in the air.
“I’m just here to play football,” Carter said. “Anytime I can get in there and help the team out. If I’m the fourth-best receiver, then we must have a pretty good receiving corps.”