You didn't have to like Cris Carter to respect him. As we've been finding out this off-season, that has been the case more than many let on. Carter's strange off-season saga may finally come to a close with a fitting bizarre twist for a TV series May sweeps cliffhanger.
Word got to VU early Thursday about comments attributed to Carter to James Brown of Sporting News Radio, saying C.C. was going to retire and had accepted a job with HBO Sports -- presumed to be joining the cast of "Inside the NFL."
But, as the day progressed, VU has learned this isn't the case, because not only is Carter not on "Inside the NFL," he's still not completely sold that he's outside the NFL.
First came a query to a spokesman for HBO Sports who contradicted Carter by saying that he hasn't signed a deal.
Next came word from the big kahuna at HBO Sports -- President Ross Greenburg -- saying that, to his knowledge, Carter hasn't given up hope on his NFL career so no deal with HBO has been finalized.
Then came the next revelation in the ongoing train wreck that is Carter's winter and spring, as he apparently has told NFL teams they have until Monday to offer him a contract well above NFL minimum -- oh, yeah, they have to be a playoff contender -- or he will retire. Apparently his deadline of Sunday night will get teams that have ignored him for three months off square one and lined up to sign him.
It seems like every time Carter has opened his mouth since the emotional press conference following the Vikings home finale last January, nothing but confusing verbage spews forth. First he says he's ready to keep to playing and openly courts St. Louis -- only to back-pedal when he mistakenly thinks Cleveland is offering him a huge contract, which contradicted his comments to Mike Martz that he "wasn't about money," he was "about winning a championship."
We've covered this story with mild amusement for the past few months and our sentiment is simple -- retire already, Cris. Quit making a spectacle of not playing. Yeah, a Super Bowl press conference to announce you WEREN'T retiring after the 2000 season was entertaining, but now it's just getting sad. End it and wait for the call to the Hall of Fame.
* In news about players who actually have remaining NFL career, VU has confirmed that the Vikings have signed Moe Williams to a one-year deal worth $650,000 -- which will count $450,000 against the salary cap.
* With the recent signings of both Williams and Ronnie Bradford, the Vikings are still about $8 million under the salary cap for 2002.
* The early word from the rumor mill surrounding the Los Angeles interest in the NFL is that the Chargers are the top team on their list, since the Chargers stadium deal expires after the 2003 season. The Vikings are locked in until 2011 and, as VU has been saying for the last couple of years why everyone else is screaming that the sky is falling, getting out of the lease -- thanks to terms put in by the State Legislature and then-Commissioner Pete Rozelle make it difficult if not impossible for the ownership to break the lease, since the NFL would be obligated to return a franchise to Minnesota under the original agreement.
Memo To Carter: Retire Already!
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