Q&A with former Vols All-America Dale Carter

From looking back to looking forward, Vol For Life Dale Carter touched on it all in a one-on-one interview with InsideTennessee.

Dale Carter never shied away from competition during his football career.

If the defensive back broke up a pass, made a big hit or took a return to the house, he let somebody know about it.

The Oxford, Georgia, native totaled 102 tackles, 10 passes broken up and nine interceptions in two seasons at Tennessee (1990-91). Carter earned All-America honors in 1990 by averaging 29.82 yards per kickoff return on 17 attempts. He finished with 1,130 kickoff return yards.

Carter, selected No. 20 overall in the 1992 NFL Draft, opened up his professional career with the Kansas City Chiefs and was there for seven seasons prior to stints with the Denver Broncos, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints and Baltimore Ravens. In 157 pro games, Carter intercepted 24 passes and racked up 112 tackles. He earned four trips to Pro Bowls.

The 46-year-old is now known for something beyond his gridiron prowess as his son is Nigel Warrior, who ranks by Scout as a five-star prospect and the No. 1 safety in the South. Warrior is considering Tennessee as well as a pair of other Southeastern Conference schools with a decision coming soon.

See what Carter had to say about is son, Butch Jones, life after football, and more:

InsideTennessee: With so many guys whose fathers went to Tennessee and onto the NFL, do you see a problem for Nigel having to live out of your shadow? Even for a young age, there are a lot of expectations.

Dale Carter: No, not really. He’s a very humble kid. If there’s one thing that I praise about him a lot, he’s just very humble. Sometimes I walk around and the people say things about him and I’m, ‘Wow, that’s my son?’ That’s one good thing about him it’s that he’s very humble. 

He’s a grinder. I tell him about the things and what he to expect before even when he gets to school — when he gets to Tennessee. I just tell him the things that you’ve got to expect. He’s not going to live in my shoes. He’s got his own path.

IT: Nigel plays basketball, runs track. Heard he was dunking in ninth grade. We have him as one of the best safeties in the country in his class. Give me a breakdown of what he brings to the table as a safety.

Carter: I really don’t like him at safety. He knows that. I really want him at corner, but that’s another story. At safety — I played safety as you know — I just want him to get in the mix a little more than what he’s doing in the games. He’s strong, fast, knows how to read the offense. He’s a good asset back there at safety I think.

IT: Why do you want him at corner?

Carter: I just want to get him more active in the game. I’m a man-to-man guy. I like to play man-to-man. If you’re going to play corner, I think you should play man-to-man a good 70-percent of the time.

I think he’s very strong, has long arms, very quick. I think he’d be a great corner.

IT: You said you bleed orange. What do you think about what Butch Jones has going on in Knoxville?

Carter: I love it. He’s building and things are going well right now. I commend him with all the things the school’s been through as you know. I watch him. I sit back. I hope he can bring that program back to like it used to be.

IT: I don’t know if you’ve talked with Todd Kelly or James Berry, but is weird for you guys to see so many of your sons going to Knoxville and following in your footsteps. They’re all about the same age even.

Carter: Man, that’s good man. I never thought I would be this age right here. I thought I’d be young forever, man. To see the guys that I played with and their sons playing, it’s shocking. I’m 46 years old now man, and I never thought that I’d stop being 25. Seeing these guys that we brought up and a part of us to go out and follow our footsteps, it’s going to be good to sit up in the stands and watch them.

IT: Antone Davis is the VFL coordinator. Do you speak with Antone or anybody like that that’s up there?

Carter: No, not really. I don’t speak with anyone really. I’ve just been taking time off to get myself together. Right now I’m just sitting back with family. I even played professional football and haven’t talked with anyone from my teams there. So I’ve just been trying to get myself together and get family together.

IT: What do you do to stay busy? I always wondered what you do after an NFL career, playing collegiately, a Pro Bowl, things like that. What do you do to stay busy?

Carter: Right now I’m trying to keep my mind clear. That’s what I’m trying to do. Going back and forth to a lot of doctors. It’s not a secret. I’ve been through a lot of stuff with these concussions with headaches and stuff like that. Basically I’ve just been sitting around the house, trying to get better, trying to get the family together.

IT: It’s a possibility next time you’re at Tennessee that Johnny Majors will be there…

Carter: Oh, man, I’d love to go see him and kiss him right in the forehead. When you say a coach, that’s the meaning of a coach. Johnny Majors. It’s simply that. That’s the meaning of a coach. It don’t get no better than that. I don’t care who you are, where you coached or where you came from, it don’t get no better than Johnny Majors.


Inside Tennessee Top Stories