It was a very memorable afternoon for the students and staff at Middletown High School in Middletown, Ohio. Class of 2013 Hall of Fame member returned to his roots to be honored by Allstate and the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a “Hometown Hall of Famer™” during a special ceremony in the gymnasium where his athletic career first began. Carter was presented a historical plaque that will remain at the school to inspire students for years to come.
Middletown High School Principal Carmela Cotter served as the emcee for the ceremony, expressing her sheer excitement for the day’s events and how special it was to have the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Allstate Insurance Company sharing this piece of history with their school.
Allstate representative Ted Stefanov told the crowd that, “At Allstate, the heart of our business is done through local agents like myself in Middletown and throughout Ohio and the rest of the country. We work every day to help protect what matters most to people – their families and homes, their legacies and livelihoods – so they, like these Hall of Famers, can achieve their goals and realize their dreams.”
Brock Richards, program director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enterprises, put the importance of the ceremony into perspective by explaining that “the plaque, which could be placed in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, will now live permanently at Middletown High School, as an official extension of Canton.” It was apparent that the staff and students of Middletown High School understood the magnitude of this piece of history they were being given.
Memories of Carter as a young student and athlete were brought to life in a very emotional speech by his brother Butch Carter, also a former Middletown High School student. Carter had said in a previous interview that one of his biggest influences throughout his life has been his brother Butch. This was very believable after seeing the two interact on and off of the stage, and definitely after hearing Butch’s account of his brother’s athletic career. Butch summed up the pride that he has for his brother by sharing a special poem with the audience about achieving your dreams and never giving up.
After unveiling his “Hometown Hall of Famers™” plaque, Carter also had an incredible speech prepared for the students, speaking on the importance of sticking to your goals and achieving your dreams. After thanking the Hall of Fame and Allstate Insurance for the incredible honor, and declaring that this event is one of the best days of his life, he shared several thoughts with the students.
“For me, I was very lucky that I had people to help cultivate my dreams, but at the end of the day, those dreams were still my responsibility. So tonight, I want you all to go home and write down your dream,” he told the students. “Middletown High School has been known for many things, but what will it be known for when you leave? It is up to you to leave your own legacy.”
Carter closed out the program by saying “As I stand here today, receiving this plaque from the Hall of Fame and Allstate, I want to let you know that dreams do come true!”
Carter is known as one of the NFL’s most prolific pass receivers. He was heavily recruited out of high school for both football and basketball and planned to play both sports at Ohio State University, but decided to make football his sole focus after a successful freshman campaign. Carter began his NFL career as a fourth round draft pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1987 NFL Supplemental Draft. After three seasons with the Eagles, Carter joined the Minnesota Vikings in 1990. For 10 straight seasons (1991-2000), Carter led the Vikings in receptions. During the 1993 season, he recorded the first of eight straight 1,000-yard seasons and also earned his first of eight consecutive Pro Bowl berths. In 1994, he set the then-NFL record with 122 catches. He matched that total a year later in what was arguably his best season when he racked up a career-high 1,371 yards and 17 touchdowns in 1995. His two-year total of 244 catches was the most in NFL history.
When Carter retired in 2002, after a brief stint with the Miami Dolphins, he had scored 130 touchdowns, which ranked second most in NFL history. Carter played a complete 16-game season in 13 of his 16 years in the NFL. He finished his 234-game career as the NFL's second all-time leading receiver with 1,101 receptions for 13,899 yards.
Since his retirement from the NFL, Carter has worked as sports analyst on several major networks. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in February of 2013 and will be formally enshrined on August 3, 2013.
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