This is Cris Carter's moment, the weekend when the longtime Vikings receiver will ascend to the Hall of Fame in Canton. It's the pinnacle of a long and storied career, the highest honor an NFL player can receive ... so naturally there's someone ready to dump on it.
Qadry Ismail played with Carter for four seasons in Minnesota in the mid-90s. And he's apparently been carrying around some serious hurt for a decade-plus that he's ready to unload. Speaking to SiriusXM, Ismail pulled no punches, per Pro Football Talk:
“To be perfectly honest with you, Cris was a bona fide diva,” Ismail said. ”[T]he greatest guy that I played with was Shannon Sharpe, because he raised the game up for me as a player. I know there would be times when we’d get in the huddle and he’d look over at me and go, ‘Q, we need to make a play.’ Or whatever it might have been in that moment. And I swear to you it would be like, ‘Oh my god, I’m going to make a play because Shannon just called me out.’ And sure enough, boom, it would be there. Shannon was that kind of a guy that you just knew that he was in your corner. You couldn’t say the same thing for Cris Carter. You couldn’t say the same thing as far as his attitude towards his teammates. You couldn’t say the same thing as far as his attitude as far as the coaching staff. You knew that he had a selfishness to him that was an extreme selfishness.”
Hmmm. Well, many of the players enshrined in the Hall of Fame could be accused of "extreme selfishness." It's how they got to where they are. While Ismail believes Carter deserves enshrinement in Canton for his individual achievements, he wished Carter had been more of a quality teammate:
“Could he flat out make catches? Absolutely. Could he flat out make plays? Absolutely. But there’s a reason why they didn’t go all the way and win Super Bowls,” Ismail said. ”There’s a reason why, that his talent was good, but when you talk about Jerry Rice talent you also talk about that team elevating it to the next level to win championships. When you talk about Shannon’s talent you are talking about that team elevating and winning championships. When you are talking about talent, there’s one thing to have talent but, to me, if you’re a complete, amazing football player, others around you rise up to whatever their level of talent is.”
The "never won a ring" argument is always a dubious one, but in the end, Carter has to be satisfied with how his career turned out. If nothing else, there's nobody else carved beside him on his bust.
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