Huge News Day For Cris Carter

Why is this man smiling? Because this photo was taken before Wednesday -- arguably one of the most embarrassing days of Cris Carter's post-Philadelphia career.

Today was supposed to be the day that the marriage of Cris Carter and the St. Louis Rams was consummated. But, on the day after divorce papers were filed by Roseanne Barr, it seems Carter is having a similar problem with keeping his relationship with the Rams together.

In the span of 12 hours Wednesday, the ideal relationship of Hall of Fame receiver and Super Bowl title favorite came crashing down and there's nobody to blame but Carter.

So much happened in the course of the day that VU was burning up the phone and e-mail lines and it's easier to simply do it chronologically, so we present "The C Files."

* Carter leaves Miami Tuesday talking that he would like to play with the Dolphins, but VU learns that a Miami front office official says he believes Carter is simply using the Rams for leverage.
* Carter arrives in Cleveland and the Browns hit him with the home-town sentimentality, as well as claiming they will offer him a better package and a starter's pay -- as opposed to the Rams, who envision him as a third receiver with third-receiver pay.
* Hours before anything breaks on the Carter front, VU is told that Rams coach Mike Martz conducted a background check on Carter and might be having second thoughts. One key Ram in particular, RB Marshall Faulk, had a problem with Carter from the Pro Bowl a year ago, yelling at Carter for what Faulk perceived as a lack of blocking that left him open to big hits.
* Carter contacts the Rams Wednesday afternoon, claiming he is being held up in Cleveland -- interpretation: trying to work out the numbers for a contract -- and wants to delay his trip to St. Louis.
* Carter and the Browns don't reach an immediate agreement and Carter contacts the Rams about rescheduling his visit for later Wednesday night.
* Martz, fed up after setting up a dinner meeting with Carter and several key Rams personnel and their wives, including QB Kurt Warner, tells Carter to forget the visit if he's going to be late.
* Carter and the Browns don't reach an immediate agreement and, while a deal looks more possible now than ever, no deal is done and the Rams aren't happy.
* The badmouthing of Carter begins by the Rams, who, unlike the bunker mentality of the Vikings, speak more freely about team matters.
* VU is told the Rams won't consider dealing with Carter again until after the league meetings March 17-22. However, they're moving forward, planning to bring Tampa Bay WR Jacquez Green in for a visit Friday.
* VU learns that Carter called Martz more than a dozen times since the end of the season, claiming money isn't an issue -- pointing out how much he has made the last three seasons -- and claimed all he wanted was to finally play for a Super Bowl team. Martz is disillusioned with Carter, saying if the Rams don't fit that criteria, no team in the NFL does.
* VU is told that Rams Player Personnel VP Charley Armey was against the signing of Carter all along, concerned that he would be a bad influence in the locker room.
* Another source close to the Rams says that the Wednesday escapades show what a phony individual Carter is and that his interest in football is more selfish than team oriented.
* A front office source with the Rams says he's convinced Carter will sign with Cleveland and has been told as much.

So goes the saga of Cris Carter. He wanted his ring. He wanted it badly from the number of times he called Martz. Yet, apparently more money can ease that pain. The Browns are a team on the rise and, perhaps in the next year or two, could be a Super Bowl contender. But the Rams already are and Carter possibly made the mistake of his life by passing up the chance to realize every player's dream of being on a title team and playing for the last team standing at the end of a season.

* As quickly as the four-year, $15 million deal with Robert Griffith came down, it shows how fast talks can break off and re-open. VU was told the sticking point was the signing bonus, which turned out to be $3.6 million. Once that hurdle was cleared Wednesday morning, everything else fell into place.
* Linebackers Henri Crockett and Greg Favors, wide receiver Donald Hayes, punter Kyle Richardson and kicker Todd Peterson are all expected at Winter Park today. However, Hayes also has a visit scheduled with Green Bay later today and Peterson was in Kansas City Wednesday, and VU has been told by a Bengals source that his agent is in talks with Cincy about signing a deal.
* Houston is said to be very close to signing both Kailee Wong and Green Bay wide receiver Corey Bradford. Wong has been offered contracts by both Houston and Cleveland and he and agent Steve Baker are weighing the merits of both. But the clear indication is that he, too, will be gone by week's end.
* In order to get new contracts done for Corbin Lacina and Chris Walsh, both players were cut Wednesday in order to sign new contracts today.
* The Vikings were contacted by the agent of Cincinnati DE Reinard Wilson, but have no interest in signing him, according to a team source.

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