Carter just keeps prayin' and movin' on

JIM BENDER, STAFF REPORTER

, Last Updated: 7:58 AM ET

That $6,500-plus raised by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for his family after it was touched by tragedy is long gone now. Yet Eric Carter is not complaining.

"It was a blessing," he said from Atlanta earlier this week.

The veteran cornerback, however, is not asking for more. Somewhat surprisingly.

Carter, you see, took in the four children his older sister, Marion, left behind when she lost a battle to breast cancer in October. Those kids -- three boys aged 13, nine and four and a five-year-old girl, moved in with Carter and his own brood -- two sons, aged one and 16 and two daughters aged 12 and five -- into their four-bedroom home on the outskirts of Atlanta. Marion also had a 21-year-old son who has since become a police officer.

"It is a handful but we're just hangin' in there," said an upbeat Carter. "Things are going good, I can't complain."

Carter, 36, had no horror stories to relate as to how the two young families have adjusted to their new living arrangements, which includes four kids sharing one bedroom.

"(Marion's children) have been doing well," Carter said. "It was kind of rough for them at Christmas time because they missed their mom. But they're over it now. We hung up pictures of her all over the place so, that helps.

"We've been handling it well. And everybody's been working hard together."

Carter's mother pitches in while his wife works as a hospital administrator and he toils at a lawn mower service. Carter plans to move into a bigger house but is still awaiting some government financial aid. In the meantime, he and his wife have sacrificed some of the things they used to enjoy.

"We don't do some of the things we used to do and we don't buy the things we used to buy," he said. "So, that's a little rough at times."

Commitment

Few would be so willing to take on such a commitment.

"You've got to respect someone who steps up to take care of his family like that," said Bomber fullback Wade Miller, who had spearheaded the Carter family fundraising. "I certainly respect what he's doing and the sacrifices he's going to have to make for the rest of his life. It certainly makes you realize that there are more important things in life than playing a game."

Carter is planning to return to Winnipeg for what could be his last CFL season.

"I'm coming back, I'm just waiting for (club GM) Brendan (Taman) to do my contract," said the four-time CFL all-star.

Although Carter is entering his option year, CFL clubs are supposed to send contracts outlining whether such players will be offered a raise or not by May 1. While he is in Winnipeg, Carter's wife and mother will look after the kids.

But, one wonders, does he ever throw up his arms in frustration during even a minor family crisis and ask, "Why me?"

"Not really," he replied. "The Lord don't put too much on anyone they can't handle. I just keep working hard and try to keep my head up.

"With all the things going on in the world, I've seen worse situations. I always say someone's worse off than we are. I just keep praying and movin' on."

But one day soon, Carter will have to move on from his illustrious CFL career, where he earns a pretty decent pay cheque.

"I've got my degree and I can teach," he said. "And I want to be a football coach here anyway. I could teach and coach football in high school."

And he could certainly give lessons that go beyond the normal curriculum.


Videos

Photos