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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Where are they now? Ki-Jana Carter

Ki-Jana Carter played running back at Penn State from 1992 to 1994. Despite only playing three years at Penn State, Carter is still ranked among the school's top ten all-time rushers with 2,829 yards on 341 carries and 38 touchdowns. In his junior year of 1994, the Nittany Lions went undefeated but did not earned a national title, finishing 2nd in the polls to the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Penn State earned a berth to the 1995 Rose Bowl and defeated the Oregon Ducks 38-20, in what was the Nittany Lion's first ever appearance in the Rose Bowl. 1994 was Penn State's 2nd full season as a member of the Big Ten Conference. Carter was named a co-MVP of the Rose Bowl after finishing with 156 yards on 21 carries and 3 touchdowns.

Carter left Penn State early after his junior season and declared himself eligible for the NFL Draft. He was drafted by the Bengals with the first overall pick of the 1995 NFL Draft. However, in just his 3rd carry of the Bengals first preseason game, Ki-Jana tore the ACL in his left knee and missed the entire 1995 season. Carter came back and missed only one game in the next two seasons, but he was never the same runner after that knee injury. Then in 1998, Carter suffered a shattered wrist in his first game that kept him out for the entire season. Ki-Jana came back in 1999 only to suffer another season-ending injury when he dislocated his right kneecap. The Bengals released Carter before the 2000 season. After sitting out the 2000 season, Carter was signed by the Washington Redskins and played in 14 games during the 2001 season. After another short stint with the New Orleans Saints in 2003, Ki-Jana Carter found himself out of football for good. The once 1st overall pick in the 1995 NFL Draft finished his career with just 1,127 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Carter, now residing in Miami, FL, has yet to file any official retirement papers, and still dreams of playing again. He has been pondering some full-time business ventures, but currently does not have any regular salary coming in. Of course he took home $8 million in 1995 alone, including his then-record $7.1 million signing bonus. Ki-Jana has broadcasted some local high school and college football and can be heard as a frequent guest on some Miami radio stations. Every Monday, Carter and former Penn State and NFL player O.J. McDuffie host a Monday Night Football event at Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino in Hallandale Beach, FL.