New Zealand legend Dan Carter has revealed how an innocuous tour of the New England Patriots’ facilities back in 2013 led to him being tempted to convert to American Football.
In a passage from his autobiography (via The Telegraph), Carter details how, if it wasn’t for an injury to his Achilles tendon, the NFL may have snapped up one of world rugby’s greatest ever players.
“I was with a friend, Luke Lloyd Davies. He is a sports agent and knew I was a fan of the NFL, so he had arranged for the pair of us to tour the New England Patriots’ facilities.
“We walked into reception where they welcomed us by name, as if we were arriving for an appointment. The next thing I knew, a couple of scouts came out, and asked, ‘Where are your boots?’ They thought I was there to try out for the team!
“I was floored, and a little wistful. Part of me would have liked nothing more than to give it a shot but I had just torn my Achilles tendon, and was months away from being able to kick again.”
Carter goes on to discuss his conversation with the team’s owner, Robert Kraft, who took no time in getting down to business with the legendary fly-half.
“Do you want to play football?”
“What are you going to bring to this team?”
“Do you think you can make the transition to the NFL?”
“I mumbled my way through some answers, looking across to Luke, who seemed equally lost. We spent 10 or 15 minutes talking through the realities of the sport, and whether it was plausible for me to make the transition.”
While we all know now that Carter decided against moving to American Football, having just won the World Cup last month with this now legendary New Zealand side, the 33-year-old admitted he was tempted.
“If I’m honest, my interest was piqued a little. I don’t think any competitive athlete could walk into an environment like that, be received in that way, and not feel a desire to rise to the challenge. Who knows what I might have done had I not sustained that injury at Twickenham?
“After we finished up, we were sent downstairs to meet with the head of the team’s scouting programme. He talked me through their processes, from recruitment, to testing, to training. That was the point when I realised just how difficult it would be for me, competing with the wave upon wave of young athletic talent thrown up by the college system.”
Carter has now left New Zealand rugby behind after more than a decade with Crusaders, however rugby union will still be very much part of his DNA as he joins up with Racing 92, becoming the highest paid player in the game.
What is the NFL’s loss is certainly the Parisian club’s gain.
Rob Lyons, Pundit Arena