‘He’s not a great football player’: TSN’s Glen Suitor believes history as bad teammate tarnishes Duron Carter’s CFL legacy

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

The riveting CFL soap opera that was the career of wide receiver-turned-defensive back Duron Carter appears to be drawing to a close and TSN colour commentator Glen Suitor has some strong opinions about how he should be remembered.

After the 31-year-old athlete was released by the Edmonton Elks on Thursday, Suitor made his regularly scheduled appearance on 620 CKRM’s The Sportscage in Regina to reminisce about some of the iconic moments in Carter’s career — including his spectacular one-handed catch against Toronto in 2017. However, the Hall of Fame broadcaster believes that legacy of outstanding plays will always be somewhat tainted.

“Duron is maybe one of the best natural athletes in football. When he was in his prime and making plays like he did in that game that you’re talking about, athletically as good as anybody on either side of the border,” Suitor said.

“I’m not talking about one league versus the other, I’m saying in either league he’s athletically as good or better than anybody in football. But he’s a good player, not a great player.”

Carter broke into the league in 2013 with the Montreal Alouettes and went on to play seven seasons for the Als (2013-14, 2016), Saskatchewan Roughriders(2017-18), Toronto Argonauts (2018), B.C. Lions (2019) and Elks (2021). He spent the 2015 season with the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts.

The outspoken son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Chris Carter rocketed to stardom in Canada, twice being named a CFL all-star at receiver and racking up 343 career receptions for 4,764 yards and 30 touchdowns. He was also dangerous as a returner and twice found himself flipped to the defensive side of the ball by head coach Chris Jones — first in Saskatchewan and again in Edmonton — recording 48 career tackles, three interceptions and three defensive touchdowns as one of the only two-way players in the modern era.

Despite that resume, Suitor believes Carter can’t be considered a great player due to his deficiencies off the field.

“To be a great player, you have to be a great teammate, the game of football demands (it) of you,” the former Riders’ safety explained.

“If you’re not, the spotlight will find you and when the spotlight finds you, you cost your team. Because there are 12 or 11 guys on the field at once, every guy with a responsibility that if he doesn’t execute and he goes rogue, the play has no chance of working — even if one guy does it.”

After a college career that was plagued with academic issues and allegations of poor attitude behind the scenes, Carter became a controversial figure early in his CFL career because of his penchant for over-the-top antics. In 2016, he was suspended one game for knocking over then-Ottawa Redblacks’ head coach Rick Campbell following a touchdown celebration. Later that year, he was involved in a heated altercation with Alouettes’ starting quarterback Rakeem Cato, prompting his release.

After signing with Saskatchewan the following season, Carter continued to be plagued by rocky locker-room relationships. One week after posting a career-best 11-catch, 231-yard  performance, he was infamously engaged in a practice fist-fight with linebacker Sam Williams in October of 2017. The Riders considered discipline, including suspension, for their all-star receiver but ultimately decided against any punishment.

After that season, Carter was caught with more than 30 grams of marijuana-laced chocolate chip cookies at the Winnipeg International Airport on November 25, 2017. In February 2018, security officers at the Saskatoon airport found marijuana in Carter’s bag following a search. He was given absolute discharges and not disciplined by the three-down league either time.

Carter was switched to cornerback full-time by the Riders in 2018 but the team released him mid-way through the season. He signed with Toronto as a receiver and spent the entire 2019 season with B.C., but failed to recapture any of his former offensive glory while remaining one of the league’s most talkative players.

The two-way star went unsigned in 2021 and served as the head coach of North Palm Beach Prep in Port Saint Lucie, Florida. The experience appeared to have mellowed Carter considerably when he returned to the CFL with Edmonton this season, playing 10 games in the secondary for his former Riders’ head coach Chris Jones.

Nevertheless, Suitor believes the body of Carter’s work will never allow him to take a place among the CFL’s elite.

“I will not put a guy with his own agenda that causes problems and causes his team a division in the locker room, I will not put them in the category of great,” he insisted.

“He’s not a great football player. I don’t care how good he is as an athlete, he doesn’t get great until he becomes a great teammate and I’m not sure Duron Carter throughout his whole career was a great teammate. Probably better last year and better now because he’s learned a little bit more, he’s more mature, but he wasn’t at times. We could tell that.”