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Carter Optimistic About Opportunity


Carter rushed for 308 yards last year with Washington.

Ki-Jana Carter knows that he will have to contend with more than staying healthy if he wants to be the Green Bay Packers' No. 2 running back.

Also hoping to back up two-time 1,000-yard rusher Ahman Green are Rondell Mealey, Herbert "Whisper" Goodman and the recently acquired Jason Brookins. Still, Carter said he's pleased to have signed with the Packers and is happy about the situation.

"It's good to be wanted by a team and an organization like the Green Bay Packers," Carter said. "Obviously there is a tremendous history and tradition there, and the Packers fans are known for being great loyal fans, which takes me back to my days at Penn State."

Carter's NFL future seemed bright following his record-setting junior season with the Nittany Lions in 1994, which prompted him to forgo his senior year and enter the NFL Draft. Since joining the professional ranks however, Carter has spent more time on the injured list than on the football field.

He sat out the entire 1995 season with a torn knee ligament, played in only one game in 1998 due to a broken wrist and missed the majority of the 1999 season with a dislocated knee cap. After bypassing the 2000 season, Cater made a significant comeback last year, rushing for 308 yards and three touchdowns in 63 attempts as the Washington Redskins' No. 2 back.

"I know people are going to ask about my injuries," Carter said. "That's been an unfortunate part of my career, but I'd like to think that those days are behind me now. I hope that by finishing last season healthy, I dispelled some of the ideas that I can't contribute at this level."

If Carter can continue to revitalize some of the ability that made him the first overall selection of the 1995 NFL Draft, the Packers would have what they want -- a solid backup to Green.

"I understand what my role is, and that's to try and keep the running game going when Ahman steps off the field," Carter said. "I think this is a good opportunity for me. Hopefully I can go into training camp and win the No. 2 spot and be there on third downs or whenever Ahman needs a break.

"I'm excited to be a Packer. To be on the same team with Ahman Green and Brett Favre makes it even better."

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