'This game gave me identity': Emotional Carter enters the Hall


After six tries, Cris Carter put the extra point on a Hall of Fame career, capping induction ceremonies in Canton Saturday night with a passionate speech about the opportunities football offered him.

"This game gave me identity, it gave me a sense of purpose, and for an African-American man, it's a great opportunity in America, to be able to play football," Carter said, according to Yahoo! Sports.

Carter, the seventh 2013 inductee into Pro Football's Hall of Fame, was "emotional," the Associated Press says, after being presented by his son, Duron. He choked back tears talking about his mentor Reggie White. Carter referred to his problems with alcohol while playing three years for the Eagles before being released, says the AP.

In fact, as Mike Florio of NBC Sports points out, the coach who cut him, Buddy Ryan, was the only coach Carter name-checked into the Hall with him.

Carter called Ryan's decision the “best thing that ever happened” to him, according to Florio.

An Ohio native and Buckeye to the core, Carter greeted the Canton, Ohio crowd by leading them in the "O-H-I-O" chant and apologizing to Ohio State University for losing his eligibility after signing with an agent after his junior season, says Yahoo!.

Carter retired as the NFL's No.2 all-time receiver behind Jerry Rice.

After Philadelphia, Carter hooked on immediately with the Vikings and hooked onto nearly everything thrown his way. Known for his superb hands, Carter finished his 16-season career with 1,101 catches for 13,899 yards and 130 touchdowns, says the AP.

With the Vikings, Carter played with Hall of Famers Randall McDaniel, Gary Zimmerman, John Randle and Warren Moon, though he mentioned none of them - nor sometime protege Randy Moss - by name, according to Yahoo!.

Instead, he called his older brother, Butch, his hero. WCCO-TV has video of that part of the speech:

The New York Times says Carter stressed his disappointment at not winning a title for Minnesota Vikings fans; he is the only one of the seven new inductees without a championship ring.

He followed Jonathan Ogden, Dave Robinson, Larry Allen, Bill Parcells, Curley Culp and Warren Sapp in being inducted.

There were Vikings past, such as former fellow Ohio State star Robert Smith, in attendance, as this KARE 11 video attests:

And ESPN Audio has an interview with Larry Fitzgerald Sr., who talks about Carter's relationship with his son, the former Holy Angels standout and Vikings ballboy who might someday make it to Canton in his own right, here.

And here you'll find a slew of photos from the Vikings.

As USA Today reports, Carter packed a lot of passion. The speech, according to America's newspaper, resembled a sermon by a Baptist preacher.

"I won't apologize - I love God, with all my heart," Carter said, according to the AP. "I love my family and I love my friends who stuck with me. And just like these guys, I love football. I love this game."

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