Saskatchewan

Riders receiver Duron Carter gives fan the shirt off his back

Duron Carter can be a polarizing player, but he's also just a regular person "playing a kid's game."

Duron Carter says Saskatchewan is as close to the NFL as you can get in Canada

Saskatchewan Roughriders wide receiver Duron Carter is tackled by Montreal Alouettes's Boris Bede during fourth quarter CFL football action in Montreal on June 22. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Duron Carter can be a polarizing player, but he's also just a regular person "playing a kid's game," as he puts it.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders receiver is often seen as outspoken and controversial, but most people agree his talents are among the best in the CFL.

For a closer look, Carter talked to CBC Radio's The Morning Edition about coming to Saskatchewan, his struggles with depression, and several other random topics.

What's been the most memorable thing in Saskatchewan so far?

Definitely the people. Everybody is a Rider fan out here. I go to the grocery store, I go to the Walmart, everybody is just so welcoming. They're ready for the game this week and it's just the fans, man, I love it. 

Have you had any interesting encounters at the grocery store or anywhere?

I was walking around the building, the stadium, yesterday and some of the cleaning ladies saw me and they needed something to sign. I didn't have anything, so I gave them the shirt off my back and signed that for them. So, you know, anything for the fans.

You literally gave the shirt off your back?

Straight off my back, right to them.

Do players come to Regina and say, 'This is a pretty small city'?

I went to college in Coffeyville, Kan. — junior college — so I know about small cities and Regina is not small at all, for real. It's very homey. I like it. It's a great place to play football.

You tweeted that when you were academically ineligible you went through some depression there. Tell me about that.

Yeah, man. Seeing your name on the ESPN ticker going across and it not being good for the first time in my life. Just not being at a point in my life where I thought I should be, or putting myself in that predicament. And it took a lot of work, a lot of grinding, just to get through that. And emotionally, I know how somebody can get depressed or get down with themselves and still have to keep on pushing.

Is that something fans maybe don't realize?

Yeah. I mean at the end of the day, we are entertainers and I sort of take that to heart in being an entertainer for everybody. But I think people do forget that we are regular people, even though we're out here, we're playing a kid's game and we're grown men. We're just coming to work. A lot of guys out here they love the game but there's also a lot of guys out here that are here for work, and this is what they do for a living and you've got to respect that.

How do you live under the microscope?

It's hard because you don't always agree with what's going on, but as an athlete, when the camera is in front of you, you've got to say the typical athlete thing or else you're going to get a whole bunch of trouble that you really don't want every day. I mean, I could go on my Twitter right now and there's probably some random guy that woke up thinking about me and just telling me how bad of a guy I am. [He laughs.] So you have to take the good with the bad.

Saskatchewan Roughriders wide receiver Duron Carter (89) celebrates with endzone fans, the first touchdown scored at new Mosaic Stadium. Carter caught a seven yard pass from Brandon Bridge. (The Canadian Press/Rick Elvin)

6 random, rapid fire questions

Pepsi or Coke? You tweeted that.

I used to be a Coke guy, but after a taste test with them next to each other, I've turned into a Pepsi guy.

What's your favourite TV show?

Rick and Morty. I love it. Best, most witty show out there. It's a show that is about everything but really about nothing. It's a smart man's cartoon ... you have to look up some of the references that they have so I like it.

What was it like working with Skip The Dishes?

Skip The Dishes was fun, man. I'll tell you delivering all that food, it got me hungry.

What was it like when you showed up on someone's door?

Man, they did not believe it at all. Even though they signed up for the competition, nobody thinks they're going to win. I came there with the food and people, well one lady almost passed out. It was fun.

Really? What did she say?

Yes. She was just like, 'I can't believe you are here!' She went and got her daughter. There was a baby crying in the background and nobody minded that and they're like, 'Let's take this picture!'

Final one. Who is the better receiver: Randy Moss or Cris Carter?

Man, personally I think, I like Randy Moss. That's more of my prototype and the receiver that I go after. But Cris Carter, he's solid, 100 per cent solid ... if I had to say, Naaman [Roosevelt] is Cris Carter and I'm Randy Moss. [He laughs.]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Peter Mills is an associate producer at CBC Saskatchewan and the host of the Meet The Riders podcast. Follow him on Twitter @TweeterMillsCBC. Do you have a story idea? Email peter.mills@cbc.ca.

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