NFL players draw inspiration and motivation from a variety of sources.
New Bears goaltender Ja’Tyre Carter draws some of his loved ones from his brother’s memory following a family tragedy. Five days before graduating from White Castle High School in Louisiana, Carter’s brother, Orthello, was in a car accident and died.
“He was dead when I was in high school and I take him everywhere I go and he keeps me going,” Carter said.
“He’s right in my heart everywhere I go. He’s right there. He has a special place.”
Ja’Tyre played tackle and defensive end for Orthello, so they chased each other daily at camp. His brother was a year older.
“He won,” Carter recalled of their battles.
It’s probably no surprise because Ja’Tyre didn’t even play football until his freshman year after a football assistant convinced him to come out.
“I played football, basketball and we did track and field together,” Carter said. “(Orthello) was a calm guy, man. He was cool with everyone. He stayed away. He never got in trouble. He was a good boy. It’s just a shame that it had to happen.”
Carter learned a lot from his brother besides football.
“Just being a great person, man, you can be good at football and be a bad person,” Carter said. “So just being a good person, respecting everyone and showing everyone love.”
Carter has two younger brothers and two younger sisters. He led the school basketball team to a minor school state title. It is a school with an enrollment of 325 students.
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“We only have one red light there and everyone’s house is probably across the street,” he said.
Playing at Southern University was a big step forward, even though the HBCU school wasn’t exactly a football factory. Carter is the first player drafted from there in 18 years.
So when he got to the Senior Bowl, he had to make a statement for the scouts. It was there that Bears under Breck Ackley saw Carter take on an Oklahoma player in one-on-one drills and it confirmed his belief that the top tier wouldn’t be too much for him.
“I would say as you know it was my first time facing high level competition so I kind of went there (like) I didn’t know what was going to happen,” Carter said. “So after that first rep, I was like, ‘I can play with these guys.
“So when I came back, because I’m very competitive, I like to win, I hate to lose more than I like to win. So after that first rep, I was like ‘man, I’m going in, I’m gonna win this representative, no matter what happens.”
The seventh-round pick went from tackle to guard with the Bears.
The move from small town Louisiana and HCBU school to one of the biggest cities in the country and at the NFL level definitely caught Carter’s eye.
Halas Hall itself was a huge step forward.
“It was just crazy, it was just a show, man, just coming from small schools through high school and college,” Carter said. “So that was just a lot to take in.”
It was a journey he embarked on with someone in his heart and still on his mind.
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