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Archive for Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Carter has career day

Jets wide receiver scores twice in debut

November 19, 2003

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— Santana Moss had a premonition about fellow receiver Jonathan Carter before their game against the Colts.

Moss dreamed Carter would score a touchdown on his first career reception and have the biggest day of his NFL career.

Moss turned out to be right. Carter had a 62-yard touchdown catch and returned a kickoff 90 yards for another score Sunday in the New York Jets' 38-31 loss.

"I told Santana, 'Keep dreaming like that every week,'" Carter said with a smile.

The speedy wideout out of Troy State had not gotten much of an opportunity until recently, playing behind kickoff returner Michael Bates and receiver Wayne Chrebet.

But Bates is out for the season because of a broken hand and Chrebet is gone with recurring head injuries, giving Carter the chance he always wanted.

"I've been here the whole time. I was just waiting on my opportunity to play," Carter said. "I was just waiting and waiting. My chance came and I said, 'Prove yourself.' So I went out and did what I had to do."

Carter became the sixth player in team history to catch a touchdown on his first career reception, and it was the longest first reception in team history.

It also was the longest first career reception in the NFL since Buffalo wide receiver Don Beebe hauled in a 63-yard TD catch against Houston in 1989.

Carter finished with 304 combined yards, the first player this season to total over 300 combined.

Coach Herman Edwards knew Carter would be fine returning kicks, and even told special teams coach Mike Westhoff.

"I told Mike, 'He'll be fine. Just put him back there. You can't worry about what you don't have. Just play with the guys you have and put them in position to make plays,'" Edwards said.

Carter and Moss are the fastest players on the team, though no one is sure who is faster. And that could give Chad Pennington even more options for the rest of the season.

"I know he's had ants in his pants, wanting to make some plays," Pennington said. "With his speed out there it gives us another deep threat. It's like a track meet out there sometimes."

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