Humbling experience for Bomber

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:30 PM ET

If he could do it all over again, he wouldn’t.

Sure, Thaine Carter would probably pass on the significant shoulder injury that killed his university season last fall, but he believes his trials and tribulations ultimately provided him with some valuable life lessons.

“I’m a true believer in that you are exactly where you’re supposed to be,” Carter said as the Bombers’ three-day rookie camp concluded on Friday morning.

The linebacker was Winnipeg’s sixth-round pick 13 months ago, and his first pro training camp, last June, ended almost before it began. After taking part in the three-day rookie camp, the 6-foot, 230-pound Nanaimo, B.C., native got hurt on the first day of main camp.

Carter dived to break up a pass and landed on the ball with his left hand. The result was a dislocated shoulder that required surgery. He didn’t go under the knife until Aug. 27.

That meant he couldn’t play his final season for the Queen’s Golden Gaels, who just so happened to go on and win the Vanier Cup over the Calgary Dinos in November.

Carter tried his best to get medical clearance for the last few games of the regular season, but wasn’t ready. All he could do was watch his teammates win the title.

“It was extremely tough. I’m not going to lie to you,” said Carter, who was on the sidelines for every Gaels game, offering his two cents to anyone who wanted to hear it.

It’s not like Carter didn’t know what he was talking about. He did win the Presidents’ Trophy as the CIS’s top defensive player in 2008, registering 33 solo tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles in eight games for Queen’s.

“In a way (missing the 2009 season) was good, because it was a very humbling experience last year, coming out of university with the Presidents’ Trophy and a whole bunch of hype,” he said.

If anything, Carter believes he might have come to camp last year with a bit of a swelled head, even though he wasn’t picked until the sixth round. He said his year away from playing allowed him to grow as a person and an athlete.

“It’s really put me out ahead, I believe,” he said. “I’m in a good space right now.”

Carter didn’t know anyone when he showed up last year, so adding to his comfort level this time around are all the familiar faces. Linebacker Chris Smith and receiver Chris Ioannides were his teammates at Queen’s, while defensive lineman Deji Oduwole is one of his best friends.

Carter also has a few days of pro camp under his belt from last year, so he can’t wait to hit the ground running when main camp opens on Sunday as he attempts to chase down a special teams roster spot.

“I’ve come back bigger, stronger, faster, and I’m ready to show my stuff,” he said.

It sounds as if he’s already made a solid first impression on the new coaching staff, which released two of the team’s four draft picks from 2009 after taking over.

“He’s done very well,” head coach Paul LaPolice said. “The coaches just said a couple of good things about him this morning, that he does a good job.

“He was pretty good in one-on-ones today, and we’re pleasantly surprised with how he’s done. That’s the first hurdle. Just keep going.”


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