A lot of folks would have already given up on their dreams, but Eagles receiver DeAndre Carter simply won't. He can't.
Carter made a promise to his brother on his deathbed.
Kaylan Carter was just 17 when he died in August 2013 after heart complications (cardiomyopathy, or an enlarged heart) caused him to collapse during a weightlifting session before his senior year of high school. He went into a coma and never woke up. DeAndre Carter was in college at the time and was gutted by the news.
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But before his younger brother died, DeAndre Carter promised him he'd live out both their dreams.
I promised him that I'd make it in the league. It was both of our dreams. He was a football player too. It was both of our dreams to play in the NFL, be successful in the NFL. And on his deathbed, I promised him that I would do that for both of us. I'm going to keep going until I make that happen.
Before his untimely death, Kaylan Carter was a running back and a corner at Enochs High School in Modesto, California. When asked who was the better player, DeAndre smiled and said, as the older brother, he was, of course. He joked about how he used to push his little brother around a little bit. Then he reeled back in the smile and admitted Kaylan was pretty good too.
When the Eagles signed DeAndre Carter on Saturday, they became his fifth NFL team in three years. After coming in the league as an undrafted player out of Sacramento State, he's been with the Ravens, Raiders, Patriots and 49ers before. He's been signed and cut six times in three years and he's never played in a regular-season NFL game. He's never been on a 53-man roster.
Getting cut in the NFL is tough. Getting cut six times is even tougher.
But it's nothing compared to what Carter had already been through.
"It's definitely one of the hardest things I've been through in my life," Carter said about the death of his brother. "I had a rough upbringing to a certain extent, but that was definitely the hardest thing. So when I do have downfalls, setbacks, adversity, I think back. I made it through that, so I can make it through anything."
Carter is the 90th man on the Eagles' roster and he's one of 13 receivers in camp at a position that is pretty well stocked, especially at the top. Suffice to say, if Carter does make it in the NFL, it's not going to be in Philadelphia. But the next few weeks of training camp and the preseason are a chance to show what he can do.
So far, he's looked pretty good with the Eagles. In fact, Tuesday's practice ended with Carter's catching a touchdown pass in the back of the end zone. As Joe Callahan scrambled around the pocket to buy extra time, Carter worked to shake rookie safety Ryan Neal.
Carter refused to give up on the play, much like he refuses to give up on his dream.
Eventually, Callahan rifled in a pass that Carter fought for and came down with in the back of the end zone before the final whistle to end practice.
Somewhere, that had to make his brother smile.