It was USFL founder David Dixon's brainstorm that ultimately brought Anthony Carter to the USFL rather than the National Football League.  Dixon's concept of a territorial draft was aimed at bringing USFL teams "local talent" that they could not only market more easily, but who they could also recruit more easily - "stay in the area and play for us in the pros."  In Anthony Carter's case after a stellar career at the University of Michigan, it was the right pitch to make.

His rookie season with the Michigan Panthers started badly - the team went 1-4-0 to start and was in last place in the USFL's Central Division.  Carter, with the help of quarterback Bobby Hebert and the addition of players such as Ray Pinney on offense and John Banaszak on defense, would help the team rebound, going 11-2-0 the rest of the way to not only qualify for the playoffs but win the division over the pre-season favored Chicago Blitz.  Carter would excel in the 1983 USFL playoffs as well, with touchdown receptions in both the Panthers 37-21 win over Oakland in the Divisional Playoffs and what would prove to be the winning touchdown - a 48 yard strike from Hebert - in their 24-22 championship win.

His year in 1984 - and his career with Michigan - was cut short thanks to a broken arm, an injury sustained against the San Antonio Gunslingers.  After the season the team merged with the Oakland Invaders, and the man who signed with the USFL to stay close to home found himself going cross-country instead.  He caught 70 balls for the Invaders in 1985 and helped Oakland advance to the USFL Championship Game, but couldn't win a second USFL title, falling 28-24.

Carter would be drafted by the NFL in 1983, chosen in the 12th round (334th pick overall) by the Miami Dolphins.  The Dolphins traded his rights to the Minnesota Vikings, where he would go on to play through 1993, earning two trips to the Pro Bowl.  Ironically, the last two years of "A.C.'s" career were played in the same place his first two were, joining the Detroit Lions in 1994 and 1995.


Michigan Panthers,
Oakland Invaders


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