Duron Carter’s altercation with Rakeem Cato at practice this week is not the first time he’s rubbed teammates the wrong way.
Midway through the 2014, during a stretch where Montreal started the season 1-7, Carter ignited an eruption with players and coaches during a meeting with the receivers and quarterbacks. The shouting was so loud, an offensive lineman left his own meeting to try and put a stop to it.
“It could have come to fisticuffs. It was a blow up of disrespect. You don’t talk to coaches or players that way. You don’t be disrespectful. That’s where I ended up stepping in,” then-Alouettes head coach, Tom Higgins says. “You’re dealing with professional athletes and then you’re critiquing professional athletes, and sometimes they take it too harshly. Be a man about it because somebody has to have a final say.”
After the situation was diffused, the offence went out for a walk-through practice and Higgins addressed the Carter argument with the team. He challenged the players to find a way the team could move forward.
“This was a player situation. You can’t be disrespectful to teammates and expect them to be able to play and function together as a team or unit,” Higgins says.
Sources say there was a team vote held on whether or not players wanted Carter on the team.
“Could we trust him? Could we move ahead? Can we go forward? Could we believe in one another? You can only do that so many times,” Higgins says. “And this was one of those times that everybody was able to put it behind them. We’re going to be respectful to teammates and coaches. We’re going to know that in order for us to have success you have to work together as a team.”
Ultimately, the Alouettes were able to get past what Carter did.
“I thought in the short period of time I was there with Duron he matured a little bit. Obviously, there is talent, but along with talent comes responsibility and being part of the team,” Higgins says.
Carter’s history of clashing with teammates goes back to college. Coffeyville Community College quarterback, Cayden Cochran tweeted about the flamboyant receiver before the 2013 NFL Draft.
Carter’s conduct is one of the reasons he didn’t last longer in the NFL after spending 2015 on the Colts practice roster. After word travelled south about Carter’s bumping incident with Redblacks head coach Rick Campbell earlier this season, an NFL source said: “Doesn’t surprise me.”
CFL personnel men believe Carter could be a contributing receiver on lots of NFL teams. Heisman trophy winning quarterback, Troy Smith, who played with Carter for two seasons in Montreal, said, “He adds a different portion to the game that definitely needs to be seen on Sundays.”
The ability is there, as Carter’s CFL numbers demonstrate. But it’s clear the 25-year-old needs to learn to get along better with others. Said one former Alouette: “Worst. Teammate. Ever.”