Every offseason, at about this point in the year, we have dozens of new wide receivers entering the NFL as rookies every year you hear the same thing.

“I model my game after Randy Moss.”

Or Jerry Rice.  Or Calvin Johnson.  Or Larry Fitzgerald.

Those are all incredible receivers that others should strive to play like, but I can’t help but notice how seldom you hear these rookies say they want to play the game the way Cris Carter did.

Why?

Because that would be too damned hard.

Cris Carter played the position like no other.  His presence and leadership on the field, his toe-tapping sideline awareness, his one-handed grabs, and his tendency to catch touchdowns just made him too unique to replicate consistently.  While the ability to take the top off a defense is rare, the ability to do this is almost unheard of even in today’s world of bigger, stronger, and faster athletes.

That is why it is a crime that Carter had to wait as long as he did to be voted into the Hall of Fame, but now that the induction ceremony is closing in, the patience has paid of and Carter is enjoying the notoriety that the ballot holders have denied him of for too long.

On Monday night, Carter threw out the first pitch at the Cincinnati Reds game, with his brother behind home plate.  His brother, Butch, will be presenting Carter with the “Hometown Hall of Famer” award.  The award, an honor from the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Allstate Insurance Company, will result in a plaque being placed in the Middletown, Ohio high school.

Carter’s first football play on record, at the age of eight, was an 80 yard touchdown at Barnitz Stadium in Middletown.  As part of his hometown honors, the football field will now be renamed after him which Carter calls a “most humbling experience.”  Tuesday has been deemed “Cris Carter Appreciation Day” by Middletown and a 45 pound bust of the great wide out will be donated to his high school.

This, of course, is simply a warmup for what will be the main event.  Circle August 3rd on your calendar  as that is the day Carter will officially be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.