THE CARRIKER CHRONICLES
As a little boy, I grew up watching these mythical figures on TV. These enormous, overgrown behemoths who tried to obliterate each other in an attempt to get an oddly shaped ball across a goal line. I remember at first it seemed weird to me, then it became interesting, then it turned into what would have been at the top of my list of my wildest, most unattainable dreams, if I had made such a list as a child.
I've never considered where I grew up the ghetto or anything. I've always phrased it as, "The wrong side of the train tracks." To me, playing football in the NFL and at Nebraska was kind of like that R. Kelly song, "I believe I can fly." It'd be awesome, but yea right! I never doubted my ability to play football. But to me, having the opportunity and getting noticed to play football at the highest level for a lengthy amount of time was the impossible hurdle.
Everybody has obstacles they have to overcome in life, and I was no different. Maybe that's why my career means so much to me. Maybe that's why I love football so much. I'm not going to say football is easy and everything about it is sunshine and rose petals. But I can hardly remember a pregame national anthem where I didn't get emotional or a single tunnel walk at Nebraska where I didn't shed a tear of joy. I think saying I'm blessed is so cliché' now, but I don't really care, because I'm extremely blessed.
I've known for months I was done with football and I was going to retire. I just never announced it. But now is as good a time as any. As many people know, I participated in the Veteran Combine last spring. The feedback was very positive from about two dozen teams when they spoke with my agent, and we came really close to signing a contract.
I love football, and I don't think people will question that, but I've reached a point where I'm proud of what I've done on the field. Anybody who knows me knows I have not and will not be bored since the day I decided to walk away a few months ago. I wasn't going to sign a deal that I didn't consider fair to my family and myself, and as a result, no deal was made. I said thanks, but no thanks, and wished them all good luck this season. They said the same.
Although every player ultimately makes the decision to retire, and I played eight memorable seasons in the NFL, the leg injuries I suffered with the Redskins got me to this day sooner in life than I should have.
I had a handful of people who believed in me, cared a whole lot about me and invested a lot of time in me. Without those people, who knows how different things would be. I would like to start off by thanking all those people who have helped, supported me or had my back. I truly appreciate it. I'd like to specifically thank my parents. My mom and dad supported me whole-heartedly growing up and believed in me almost to the point where I thought they were delusional, but they weren't. Thank you mom and dad, I would not be here without you.
I'd like to thank my high school coach and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Hull. You helped me get noticed. While our high school team was god-awful and you preferred I go to a northwest school, I'd say we've both had much-improved success since then, and things turned out pretty good for both of us.
Now, I'd like to thank my wife. Angie, you're not last, you're the main event. You have been there and supported me through everything, almost to the point of being unbelievable. Your love, strength and support have been unwavering since the day we started dating. It has only continued to grow, both on and off the field. You're my best friend, you make me a better man. I love you and thank you.
What's next for me? Honestly, I'm not sure. I've mentioned before I have a business degree and I'm acquainted with several businessmen and large corporations. I enjoy going on Fox News and the Fox Business channel as an analyst and debating business as well as discussing politics. The wrestling/football show "4th and Pain" I hosted for a year did very well, before I had to leave it to finish my rehab at the Andrews Institute in Florida. I currently have enjoyed writing the "Carriker Chronicles" each week, as well as joining the largest sports radio stations in Washington DC and Nebraska on a weekly basis to give my take on the NFL, Redskins and Huskers. I currently have two different offers to host my own show right now.
Coaching is a very real possibility. I love the game of football and even more importantly, I'd love to pay it forward and impact the lives of men, whether they are little kids or pro athletes, the way certain people impacted me. As many of you know, the WWE called me before the season started and extended an open invitation to come and work with them any time. There's certain things about the WWE that are exciting to me, and certain things that are not. I'll speak with them soon.
Lastly, I've actually thought about politics and talked to a few people about it. I believe if you want to change the world, standing on the sidelines and yelling won't get anything done. The only problem is, I'm not very good at political games.
Those are my five main options.
What I do know is they are options 3-7.
Options 1 and 2 are my family and a foundation/charity. I have five beautiful children (all under the age of 6) who are going to be put into every activity under the sun. That alone will be a full time job.
Also, the first 31 years of my life have been about Adam. I'm not a selfish guy; that's just the nature of the beast. Where we live, how long we live there, having to move at a moment's notice, everything revolving around football, and so on. The next 31 years of my life are going to be spent on dedicating my life back to and helping everyone else. So whether I do any of the things mentioned in the paragraphs before this I don't know, and as of this very moment, they're not the current priority. Getting acclimated to life with my family beyond football and helping other people are the priority, as of right now.
Like I said, I'm very happy with the first 31 years of my life. While it hasn't always been a valley full of daisies, that's just life and I can't wait to see what the next 31 years has to bring! The question is, what happens when I turn 62?
In conclusion, people ask me all the time how to make it in football.
I believe in hard work. First, come in ready to go and outwork everyone! Second, enjoy the ride. Relish every moment throughout your career, however long it may be. All of the awards and trophies are great and something to be proud of, but the moments you'll remember and the friendships you build are what truly last forever. Finally, never be afraid to fail. If you don't ever fail at something, then you're not pushing yourself hard enough.
If you get knocked down 99 times, get back up 100. Shoot for the stars. I know I personally enjoyed proving the people who doubted me wrong and proving the people who believed in me right. Boom! Football can also help set you up for success beyond the field as well. Even if your dream is not football, it doesn't matter, go for it!
Even if you don't succeed in whatever your dream may be, at least you know. Either way, it's a win win. Either you find out the answer, or you defy the odds and accomplish turning every little boy's wildest, seemingly most unattainable dream, into a reality and a lifetime of good memories.
Next week on the Carriker Chronicles I'm predicting a Nebraska bowl game victory! Think I'm crazy? Join the crowd.
I explain the five keys to a Husker victory next Sunday night, as always right here and on my Facebook page at 7 p.m. CT. So until next week, Merry Christmas and thank you all for the memories!