Since his rookie season in 2013, Duron Carter has been one of the best things about the Canadian Football League.
An elite talent only in the CFL due to a failure in remaining academically eligible at both Ohio State and Alabama, the son of Cris Carter has dominated opposing secondaries in Canada and showcased his NFL caliber skills.
Unfortunately for Carter, the same issues he had off the field in his college career have carried over to his run as a professional, complicating his arc from CFL to NFL redemption story.
Carter’s first stint in the CFL with the Montreal Alouettes went off mostly without a hitch as the talented wideout proved why he was given a chance by both Ohio State and Alabama.
Carter carried the Als in his first two CFL seasons, amassing nearly 2,000 yards receiving and catching 12 touchdowns over two years despite missing seven games for Montreal.
The marriage appeared to be perfect as Carter replaced a team legend in Ben Cahoon and helped to transition the franchise from a dynasty period to what appeared to be a new era with a young star guiding the way.
The Als ultimately lost in the 2014 East Division Final to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, but Carter carried a team with mediocre quarterback play one game shy of the Grey Cup.
With solid numbers over two seasons and the pedigree of a famous father behind him, Carter received plenty of interest in the 2014 offseason from NFL teams vying for his services.
Carter eventually decided to sign with the Indianapolis Colts in a move that made plenty of sense on the football field to pair his talents with quarterback Andrew Luck and join the Colts passing attack.
Unfortunately for Carter, he never got a true look with the Colts and spent his lone NFL season on the practice squad before he was released.
The NFL’s loss was again Canada’s gain as Carter returned right back to Montreal in a logical career move. If thriving with the Als gave Carter his first chance in the NFL, surely coming back would provide him another opportunity at his NFL dreams.
It was in that second stint in Montreal where Carter began to drift from a flamboyant wideout who dominated CFL secondaries to a talented wideout who brought equal attention to himself through antics similar to the likes of Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens.
During Carter’s second run with the Alouettes, Carter drew headlines and a suspension for a now infamous touchdown celebration where he knocked over an Ottawa Redblacks coach before storming the opposing team’s bench.
During that same stint, Carter feuded with former Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato at practice and was eventually kicked off the team near the end of the 2016 season.
Carter’s falling out in Montreal sunk any hope of an immediate return to the NFL, but it did bring him to the Saskatchewan Roughriders and an opportunity to take his entertaining brand of football to the CFL’s most passionate fanbase.
On the field in Saskatchewan, Carter has dominated. With three games left to play, Carter is already at 1,034 yards and eight touchdowns on 71 catches. A career year for Carter, who has also brought the CFL back into the national headlines in Canada this week.
Carter’s week in the news began with news that he might be released by the Riders after another fight in practice.
The news the Riders might release Carter drew headlines across the country, and for good reason: It appeared to be an insane move from the team to cut ties with their best offensive player with just three games to play before the playoffs.
— Arash Madani (@ArashMadani) October 17, 2017
Cooler heads did prevail, but that didn’t stop Carter from making more headlines.
News came out the Riders not only won’t be suspending Carter, but they will be giving the wideout a look at cornerback when the team plays the Calgary Stampeders this weekend in a battle of two Grey Cup hopefuls.
— Cris Carter (@criscarter80) October 19, 2017
The reason for the move to give Carter a look at cornerback? Washington might be interested in giving Carter a second opportunity in the NFL, but this time on defense.
Per #CFL sources: The Washington Redskins are intrigued in Duron Carter as a defensive back.
Now he'll get film and an "audition" at CB. https://t.co/4UFdaJBXK6
— Arash Madani (@ArashMadani) October 18, 2017
The decision to give Carter a look on defense so late in the season is a bold one for head coach Chris Jones and the Riders.
On one hand, Carter is a player who has considerable talents and can be an asset on defense. Otherwise there would be no interest from Washington to potentially bring him in to attempt a position change at the NFL level.
On the other side of the coin, Carter is the CFL’s best wideout and has carried a Riders receiver group that has been banged up in the second half of the season. Carter will play offensive snaps, but stretching out their biggest playmaker is a risk they need to take to satisfy a player with NFL aspirations.
It is also worth noting that Washington is interested in Carter as a defensive back when they have a strong secondary of their own, and a weaker roster of wideouts. Carter seems like he would present more upside competing against the likes of Terrelle Pryor, Josh Doctson and Ryan Grant for snaps as opposed to trying to make an impact in a secondary that already features Josh Norman.
Regardless of the intent of Washington and the Riders, Duron Carter’s week of drama and his newfound role has brought both intrigue and excitement to the CFL during a period of the season where the league often is lost in the shuffle.
At a time of year where even Canadians begin to ignore the league for the NFL, NHL and NBA, Duron Carter is making headlines both on and off the field. Whether you love him or hate him or whether you bleed Green and White or can’t stand the Roughriders, this is good for the league.
Come Friday night, Duron Carter is must see TV both in the Great White North and down south. The son of Cris Carter might never reach relevance in the NFL, but he can’t help but bring attention to himself as he tries to make the jump from Regina to the bright lights on Sundays.