DE PERE - In life, sometimes all you need is a chance. Getting that chance, however, can be a journey in itself.
“Each day that comes closer to it I get more and more nervous,” said De Pere’s Zac Carter.
Carter is nervous because, in just under three weeks, he has an NFL tryout. Carter is 21 years old, but not coming off a college football career; he didn’t play in college. He played, in fact, only one season at De Pere High School. He did enough, however, during several semipro football seasons to catch the eye of an NFL scout. He flies out for a tryout on June 22nd.
“She'll do anything she can, she just wants to see me succeed.”
—Zac Carter, Semipro Football Player
“I honestly, I cried (when I found out),” said Carter. “Just to get this opportunity.”
Carter will be trying out for an AFC team, though he insists on not saying the specific team publicly: he doesn’t want to jinx it not risk upsetting the team’s front office by letting word out. Carter told FOX 11 the team; we contacted them and a spokesman said the team does not confirm which players they are trying out. Carter plays quarterback, receiver and even defense – he says he doesn’t know what position the NFL team will be trying him out at.
“They're doing their homework, their scouts doing their thing, just keeping their eyes open for the next talent,” said Manitowoc County Mariners head coach Marco Alfaro, the Two Rivers-based semipro team that Carter is currently playing for. “Everyone's looking for the next Kurt Warner. Kurt Warner was stocking shelves at one point.”
Carter got noticed, not because of a high-priced agent, but because of his mom. Nicole Carter taped all of Zac’s semipro games with the Green Bay Grizzlies and Green Bay Blackjacks. She got on the computer, put together a demo tape and looked up all the addresses for football teams she could find.
“Didn't matter if it was semipro or pro,” said Nicole. “I sent it to everyone.”
When an NFL team called, Nicole thought Zac was joking with her. Maybe to keep her morale up. It’s been a hard couple of years for Nicole, and the time focusing on Zac’s football career, on the demo tapes, had a bigger result than just getting a tryout.
“I've been fighting cancer,” said Nicole. “Everything that's been going on with Zac has been a very positive...really make my focus and my strength go get better even that much higher.”
Nicole says she doesn’t care if Zac makes a team or not; “In my book, he's already made it. He's a winner either way.”
Zac says, of course, he has lofty goals and confidence about his football career. His relationship with family, however, is of the most importance.
“Mom knows the best of you,” said Zac. “She'll do anything she can, she just wants to see me succeed.”