PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – When the Eagles released DeSean Jackson, it reminded many of when they released another top receiver, Cris Carter.
Carter, who later went on to have a Hall Of Fame career, at the time cited Eagles head coach Buddy Ryan for saving his career, and life. Carter had substance abuse problems, and Carter attributed his recovery and the chance to extend his career to Ryan’s choice to release him.
That’s why it came as a surprise when Carter tweeted that he was “praying” that the Eagles were making another monumental mistake in releasing Jackson.
When the 94WIP Morning Show announced Friday that they were naming him the “weasel of the week” for his comments, and Carter found out about it on Twitter, the former Eagle called into the show to defend himself.
“You know I’m a big fan of WIP even though I’m the weasel of the week,” Carter said Friday morning. “I didn’t change anything [that I said previously about the Eagles]. In my Hall of Fame [speech], I think that people—when I say the Eagles and I say Buddy Ryan, they think it’s one thing. But in my situation, the Eagles and the organization were totally against me and they had had, a lot of people don’t know, they had failed an awful lot with substance abuse. They had a number of guys on the team that they couldn’t get them the help that they needed and their problems got worse. And their overall philosophy, as far as chemical dependency was, they didn’t think a person could get well. Now, Buddy in the back of his mind, him and his wife, they thought a person could get well. So Buddy told me based on the organization, what they’re thinking, I can’t bring you back as a starter, but can you come back and earn our trust and then maybe, eventually you can be a starter again. So I thank Buddy for that, but I’m not gonna be a backup to guys that aren’t better than me. So I thank Buddy because it was eye-opening, but I was already clean!”
After his release from the Eagles, Carter went on to play 12 years for the Vikings, and amassed over 12,000 receiving yards and 110 touchdowns. Carter said that the Vikings ability to deal with his substance abused issues surpassed that of the Eagles.
“When I got to Minnesota I was a different person because of the circumstances and what Buddy put me in, do you understand that? But I was on the path [to recovery]. I had five months clean off of crack cocaine. I was clean, I was in my best shape ever when they [the Eagles] cut me,” Carter said. “I went to Minnesota two days later, and their employees assistants program was drastically different than the Eagles. It was amazing and in Philadelphia, part of me rehab was I couldn’t use, but I was allowed to drink. In Minnesota they asked me, ‘could I stop stop drinking?’ I was like absolutely. I stopped using crack cocaine, of course I could stop drinking.”
The release of DeSean Jackson, which has not only been the top news for the Eagles over the last week, but for the entire NFL, is a topic that Carter is passionate about.
“Well you gotta handle your business better. You got to be able to handle your business that the organization is not put in a situation where they’re going to compromise the overall ability of the team. Because players—elite players can’t be replaced. I know fans think they can, but they can’t. And I believe if I was able to get the type of care and I would have stayed on that [Eagles] team and Reggie White had stayed in Philadelphia I believe we would have won a Super Bowl. I believe that ultimately I would have gotten the same result. That’s what I always say is my biggest regret. When someone drafts you I wish—it’s nothing against the Minnesota people, but I wish I had the same success I had in Philadelphia that I ended up having in Minnesota,” Carter said.
“The Eagles have the right to employ and cut who they want to, but I don’t believe they had the right to allow this affiliation with the gang to be perpetuated. I believe they could have stopped that. That’s a stiff accusation to put on an African-American. If you look at the guys they got in that locker room and guys who have done things and look at their roster from last year, they got Riley Cooper, they had Michael Vick. And now DeSean Jackson maybe he’s not able to play for the Eagles or get traded as a Pro Bowler because he has some gang affiliation? Like, it’s just not right. If you’re gonna release, you don’t wanna pay him and everything, that’s fine. And that’s why my greatest respect for Buddy Ryan was Buddy looked me in the eye and talked to me as a man. He said this organization does not really want to keep you, but I really do. They don’t believe in chemical dependency that you can get better.”
Carter was also awarded the 94WIP Morning Show “winner of the week,” for calling the show and backing up his comments.
LISTEN TO THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW: