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The Curious Case of Former Dallas Cowboys QB Quincy Carter

TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 26:  Quarterback Quincy Carter #7 of the Dallas Cowboys attempts to pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the game at Raymond James Stadium on October 26, 2003 in Tampa, Florida.  The Buccaneers defeated the Cowboys 16-0.  (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images)
Richard ZowieCorrespondent IJuly 9, 2009

I'll never forget that draft back in 2001 when the Dallas Cowboys made Quincy Carter their first pick (second round, 53rd overall).

I immediately asked my lovely wife, Jennifer, "Who on earth is Quincy Carter?!"

Jennifer responded: "Don't look at me! You know I don't like football!"

(It could be worse: Jenn could be a Detroit Lions or Philadelphia Eagles fan—or even worse—a Washington Redskins fan.)

That being said, I wondered why Jerry Jones would take a risk on a quarterback that, people told me, would've still been available in the later rounds.

Carter's first few games in the NFL looked very rough. I'll never forget his first regular-season NFL pass. It was a wobbler.

But as shaky as Carter seemed with some of his throws, he showed signs of brilliance: he was a great scrambler who had a decent arm. And I remember seeing him from about 20 feet away while covering Air Force Day at the 2002 Dallas Cowboys training camp at the Alamodome in San Antonio. Carter looked very muscular with no detectable body fat. He looked like one of those athletes who could act as their own body guard.

And as the games wore on, Carter looked like he would do two things to establish himself in Cowboys history: become the team's first African-American starting quarterback and pick up the torch left behind by Troy Aikman.

Then came his release in 2004, later revealed to be the result of his drug issues.

And now, Carter's sliding further down the abyss.

More recently, he was released by the Abilene Ruff Riders of the Indoor Football League. Carter called coach Gerald Dockery and told him he wouldn't be playing in that game.

Sigh.

And to think that in 2003, Carter led the Cowboys to a 10-6 season and playoff berth.

Besides the Cowboys, Carter has played for the New York Jets, Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League, and in minor football leagues with the Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings, Kansas City Brigade, and Ruff Riders.

What's gone wrong with Quincy Carter? Nobody's ever doubted his athleticism. He also played minor league baseball.

My understanding is part of Carter's problem is he deals with a bi-polar disorder. How much that has to do with his drug addiction is anyone's guess. It's sad, really, since I have known some people who are bi-polar: one, a former co-worker, was one of the nicest people I've ever known.

Whatever it is, I hope Carter's able to get the help he needs before it's too late. He's younger than I am by more than four years, and I don't want to have to read his obituary.

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