Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 2/2/12
Cris Carter has waited patiently the past four years to hear if he would be called by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Carter, the eight-time Pro Bowl receiver who had caught the second-most passes in NFL history when he retired for good in 2002, did what he could on the football field to earn his spot in the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Now a finalist for the fifth time, hes still waiting to receive the much-anticipated call. He knows adding "Hall of Famer" to his many accomplishments will change his legacy, even though it wont change perception in his mind. "I cant fake who I am," Carter said. "I cant make it up. I never won a championship. At the end of the day, as a man, Im just waiting like everyone else who ever played this game. I dont like being in the situation where someone else is going to put the identity on your career. It seems like everyone is waiting to make an adjustment on my career based on the Hall of Fame. Its the system that were in and I just have to deal with it." Two former Minnesota Vikings teammates, Carter and defensive end Chris Doleman, are among this years 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The 2012 inductees will be announced Saturday afternoon. Carter, Minnesotas all-time leading receiver, was known for having one of the best set of hands in NFL history and finished his 16-year career with 1,101 catches (fourth all-time), 13,899 receiving yards (eighth) and 130 touchdowns receptions (fourth). Doleman, one of the most feared pass rushers of his time, is the Vikings all-time sack leader and accumulated 150.5 sacks in his 15-year career, the fourth-most in NFL history. Like Carter, Doleman has had to wait to hear his name announced as a Hall of Famer. The Vikings No. 1 draft choice (fourth overall) in 1985, Doleman is a finalist for the second time. "I think I was a little more nervous last year," Doleman said. "Im kind of a veteran of this now. I feel this is a wonderful opportunity to be a part of and you take it as it comes. You realize its just that, its an opportunity. Nothing is guaranteed to any one of us. "Its nice for somebody to notice your body of work as a player. It is a humbling experience, I guess. To be considered one of the greatest to have playedyoure in rare air." Many consider just making the list of finalists to be an accomplishment itself. Fellow finalists Kevin Greene and Charles Haley were also elite pass rushers whose careers mirrored Doleman. Along with Carter, receivers Andre Reed and Tim Brown are also finalists. All three are among the top-10 all-time in receptions. Over the past six years, only three receivers Jerry Rice, Art Monk and Michael Irvin have gained induction. "I know theres and issue as far as the wide receivers," Carter said. "Its real, but its up to those people in the room to solve that problem. Thats why the National Football League, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, thats why they have those people on that panel. "Im just thankful of my career. Im thankful that Ive been honored. Im thankful that Im one of the finalists. Every guy on that list deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. If you get on the finalist list for the Half of Fame, man, you have done something significant in the game of football." Doleman was inducted into the Vikings Ring of Honor this past season, joining Carter in the 19-member group. An eight-time Pro Bowler, Doleman was drafted as an outside linebacker, but eventually became a defensive end as Minnesota transitioned to the 4-3 defense and finished his career seventh in NFL history with 24 fumble recovered and forced 45 fumbles during his career. "I appreciate my teammates, those relationships are more valuable than they have ever been," Doleman said. "To spend time with (fellow Hall of Fame teammates) Johnny Randle, Randall McDaniel, to be in the Ring of Honor in Minnesota and realize youre one of 15 players in 51 years of the Vikings is pretty cool. "I appreciate what theclub has done for me. They opened doors for me and Id proudly go in (to the Hall of Fame) as a Vikings player." A fourth-round pick by Philadelphia in the 1987 supplemental draft, Carter really blossomed when he arrived in Minnesota in 1990. During his 12 years with the Vikings, he had 1,004 catches for 12,383 yards and 110 touchdowns. He set a then-record with 122 catches in 1994 and equaled the number the following year. "I would say the closer you get, naturally the more difficult it is because so much of your fate is in someone elses hands," Carter said of the Hall of Fame. "I think anyone in that type of situation, its nerve-wracking. Its an honor that you want and Ive been so close the last several years that you can almost just taste it, but you dont really have it." Carter said its an emotional process for him because of all the support he had throughout his career, specifically his father who is from Ohio and is dealing with early Alzheimers. "If I am a Hall of famer, its because of these people," Carter said. "Its not me. I wasnt going to make it. I didnt have a track to the Hall of Fame. I didnt have a game plan. I had no dream I would be in the Hall of Fame. "But there were people who saw things in my life and said things to me that ultimately put me on the doorstep on the Hall of Fame, and now I sit there and I wait."
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