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WR Tim Carter works to catch on with St. Louis Rams
BY BILL COATS
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
It's doubtful whether wide receiver Tim Carter, who is trying to land a spot on the Rams' roster after coming to town on a tryout basis, has many fans in St. Louis. But a group of young men in Houston are rooting hard for him.
They're "Carter's Kids," residents of a treatment center for at-risk youths that Tim and his wife, LaShell, opened last year. They hope eventually to expand throughout Texas.
"I have 24 teenagers that are amazing that I work with now," Carter explained. Getting the center up and running was a big-time commitment, and it partly explains why Carter was out of football last year. In addition to "Carter's Kids," he opened two Popeye's chicken franchises last year in his hometown of St. Petersburg, Fla.
"I didn't intend on how much work went into those two projects. So, I didn't work out for about 4½ months straight. I mean, I didn't sleep because I had so much work," said Carter, 29. "So, I got off to a very late start last year. It was a difficult position to be in but something I felt that I had to do."
Carter has spent six seasons in the NFL, the first five with the New York Giants, who took him in the second round of the 2002 draft out of Auburn, and the last with Cleveland in 2007. Admittedly out of shape, Carter struggled at training camp last summer and was among the Houston Texans' final cuts.
Instead of bouncing around the league looking for work, Carter decided to dive into his businesses.
"I was getting a lot of calls, but I was very honest with the teams, because I wasn't ready," he said. "It was difficult watching last season. But at the same time, I was extremely busy. So, it wasn't like I was sitting and I didn't have anything to do."
Still, he acknowledged wondering whether his days in the NFL might be over. "That did cross my mind," he said.
The chicken franchises are a financial consideration for the future, and Carter is about to open two more. The center in Houston is different: It's a from-the-heart project for both Carters, who have two children of their own.
During his career, Tim has participated in a number of youth-oriented community programs. LaShell has long been a volunteer at day-care centers, and has been involved with boys and girls clubs, the March of Dimes and natal intensive-care units at various hospitals.
Their mission, according to their website (Welcome To Carter's Kids), is "helping our boys get back on track while at the homes we provide for them and staying on track long after they leave our care."
The center was completed, the beds were filled, and Carter finally could return his attention to football. He began working out with his younger brother, Pat, a former University of Louisville quarterback who is trying to make the Tampa Bay roster as a wide receiver.
"Training with him definitely assisted me," Tim said. "I think it would've been difficult to try to do that on my own."
Once Carter, a 6-foot, 187-pounder who has 80 NFL catches for 1,084 yards and four touchdowns, got back into condition, his agent began making calls. The Rams, thin at wide receiver after the offseason releases of Torry Holt and Drew Bennett, invited him to their minicamp earlier this month.
That invitation came with a caveat, though: He'd have to prove himself before getting a contract. Carter responded by flashing some speed and making some nice catches during his three-day audition.
He received his contract.
"I think he's got a load of talent," coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "He's been away from it for a year, so you've got to figure out if he can knock the rust off. But if he does that ..."
Carter, the most experienced of the 10 wideouts participating in organized team activities at Rams Park, is "a quick guy, and he's making plays," quarterback Marc Bulger said. "He's just figuring out where he is right now in the offense. I think by the next minicamp (June 4-6) we'll be able to stick him in there more and get a better feel for him."
Training camp begins in late July, and that's where Carter ultimately will learn whether there's a spot for him again in the NFL. If not, at least he has plenty to keep him occupied.
"It was a bit of a risk" to sit out in '08, he said. "But I don't regret my decision. I feel like it was a blessing."
I hope he's still fast !!!!!
Re: WR Tim Carter works to catch on with St. Louis Rams
Well at the very least he should be able to mentor the guys a little bit. Sounds like at the worst he'll be able to share with them the importance of being ready for a life without football, and to keep their heads on straight! Good character pickup, and certainly seeming like a hard worker to try to get back on a roster.
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