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Cris Carter Admits Drug Problems

November 8, 1997

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Vikings wide receiver Cris Carter says his drug and alcohol problems caused the Philadelphia Eagles put him on waivers after a stellar season in 1989.

Carter told the Star Tribune that his substance abuse problem led Buddy Ryan, then the Eagles coach, even though he had caught 45 passes for 605 yards in 1989. He said the media was wrong to blame Ryan for his move to Minnesota.

Carter made the comments Friday after taping ESPN’s NFL Countdown show to be aired Sunday morning. Ryan and Vikings backup quarterback Randall Cunningham will also appear in the episode.

``ESPN asked me about a couple of incidents, and I didn’t want to be untruthful to them about why I left there,″ Carter said. ``It was about what I had to overcome. I have been able to overcome alcohol and chemical dependency.″

Carter has told reporters and fans before that he had substance abuse problems, but has never discussed them in detail. He said he has been sober for 8 years and credited the Vikings for his recovery.

``The first thing the Vikings did was get me some help,″ he said. ``The Vikings helped me with a counselor. And Vikings trainer Fred Zamberletti helped me a great deal.″

Since 1989, Carter has become one of the league’s best receivers and has been to four consecutive Pro Bowls. He set an NFL record with 122 catches in 1994 and is Minnesota’s leading receiver. He turned out to be one of the all-time NFL bargains because the Vikings paid only $100 for Carter’s contract in 1989.

Since leaving the Eagles he became a minister and works at a church in Boca Raton Fla., during the off-season. He has conducted weddings and funerals there.