The Philadelphia Eagles haven’t had many Hall of Fame players in their history. As such, there was no one under consideration for the 2013 Hall of Fame class that would go in as an Eagle. However, there is one inductee who got his start in Philadelphia.
Chris Carter began his career in 1987 with the Eagles as a supplemental draft pick, but was cut in 1990 for drug and alcohol abuse, just when he was starting to make an impact on the field. Yet when the Minnesota Vikings picked him up, Carter got clean and became one of the great wide receivers of all time, which culminated in his selection to the Hall of Fame on Feb. 2, according to ESPN.
If Carter had gotten to stay in Philadelphia and become a superstar in the 90s, perhaps Randall Cunningham could have gotten more than one playoff win for the Eagles. The two did reunite in Minnesota and almost made it to the Super Bowl in 1998, yet Carter never made it to Super Sunday.
Despite all that, Carter got inducted into the Hall of Fame on the eve of this year’s Super Sunday. When he gets enshrined into Canton, he will go in as a member of the Vikings, while his Eagles’ career will go down as a mere footnote.
Given Carter’s massive success with the Vikings, it is tempting to blame the Eagles for making a huge mistake in cutting him. Yet if Buddy Ryan didn’t cut him, he might not have survived his addictions, let alone become as big a star as he did. As such, while the Eagles suffered on the field by releasing Carter, they provided the wake-up call that may have saved his life and gotten him into Canton.
Still, the Eagles have never had a receiver match up to Carter in 20+ years. They had Terrell Owens for a time, but that ultimately cost them dearly, while DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin have underachieved over the last two seasons. And if Donovan McNabb had someone like Carter to throw to for more than two years, Philadelphia may well have won at least one Super Bowl with him.
Yet the Eagles, as always, have to wonder what might have been if things were different. But Carter never won the Super Bowl himself, although he does now have football immortality as a consolation prize.