Cincinnati.com reportedFormer NFL wide receiver Cris Carter will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August, but he received an honor on a warm, cloudless Tuesday that will be hard to top.
that officials from his hometown of Middletown (Ohio)
dedicated Cris Carter Field at Barnitz Stadium before a crowd of 250. Included were Sean Bell and Dwight Smith who played with him as eight-year-olds and later at Ohio State University.
The field is located just five blocks from his childhood home.
"Something like that doesn't happen in too many communities," said Carter. "Man, this is a great place to grow up, a great place to be an athlete. ... I played football for the love of it, for the great competition it provided, not for the benefits of it. I never thought about stuff like this ... But later I did think of the people of Middletown. For everybody who didn't make it, I carried their memories out there on the fields with me."
Carter paid special tributes to his mother, Joyce, and older brother, Butch, who starred in the NBA.
He pointed out, "Growing up, I didn't look to any male the way I looked up to my brother, Butch. I had no other person I wanted to (be) more like than Butch. Not just as an athlete, but also for his character. He was our provider. If he made a dime, it went to our mom so we'd have something to eat."
Looking at Butch, Cris then said, "I noticed a lot of times you ate last. Seven kids around the table and you the biggest one. I saw the sacrifices you made. I stand here this day, on this my day in Middletown, and I'm telling you, Dawg, 'Thank You.' "
Boyhood friend Jimmy Calhoun told a great anecdote.
"A friend of mine came to me and said Cris was picking on him. We were nine or 10," said Calhoun. "I said, 'You give me that little 10-cent ice cream cup of yours and then tell Cris to follow you into the rest room. When he does, I'll be waiting in the stall.' Cris came in and when he started arguing with my friend, I came out of the stall and picked up Cris and threw him in the trash can. That took care of his bullying and we've been best friends ever since."
Carter said he hopes that Middletown, which also produced Naismith Hall of Famer Jerry Lucas, will continue to be a city with a big heart.
He said, "God notices everything you do. I know there's another Cris Carter out there right now. I hope that when he doesn't have bus money to make it to practice, or have the money to sign up to be on the team, that somebody will lend a hand. You did that for me. ... For all of that, for all my coaches and teachers and families in Middletown, I say ‘Thank you.' I couldn't have done it without you."