For five years the Pro Football Hall of Fame Committee did what no secondary ever could: slow down Cris Carter. From 2008 through 2012, the legendary wideout was denied access to football's most exclusive and prestigious club. Like he did on NFL fields for 16 seasons, however, Carter eventually got where he wanted to go.
Carter, who became a league icon during his 12 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, was finally voted into the Hall of Fame in February and will be officially inducted on Sunday prior to the annual Hall of Fame Game preseason kickoff.
Carter was originally taken in the fourth round of the 1987 supplemental draft by the Philadelphia Eagles, where he spent three seasons before being cut for off-field issues. He turned both his life and career around after landing in Minnesota, where he still holds Vikings' records for career receptions, career receiving yards and career touchdowns.
Carter, now 47, racked up 13,899 yards and 130 touchdowns during his career, and has his name littered throughout the NFL record books. He recorded 1,000 yards receiving in eight consecutive seasons and broke the 100-yard mark in 42 games. He led the league in touchdowns three times, his highest total coming with 17 in 1995, a year he also broke the 1,300-yard mark.
In 1998 the Vikings paired Carter with controversial rookie Randy Moss to create one of the most dynamic wideout duos in league history. The team won 15 games that year but fell in the NFC Championship game, becoming one of the greatest teams in NFL history to not win a Super Bowl. Carter never claimed football's ultimate prize.
In 2000 Carter became only the second player in NFL history to reach 1,000 career receptions and ranked second on the NFL's all-time list in receptions and receiving touchdowns at the time of his retirement. The eight-time Pro Bowler became one of four receivers to be named to the All-Decade Team for the 1990s.
After joining the Miami Dolphins for an inglorious final season, Carter retired from the NFL in 2002. He has since gone on to a highly successful career as an ESPN analyst, most notably appearing on the network's Sunday NFL Countdown show.
For a man accustomed to reaching paydirt, it's a fitting place to end a career.