Like millions of other football fans, Rick Carte will probably tune into ESPN to watch a couple rounds of this weekend's 2005 NFL Draft.
Unlike those causal observers, however, Carte actually has a chance to hear his name called.
Carte, a Juneau-Douglas High School and Western Washington University graduate, was listed on ESPN.com as one of the top 300 draft-eligible athletes in the country. Carte played tight end for the Vikings and is listed with other standouts at his position, like probable first-round pick Heath Miller of Virginia.
"Initially when I finished the season and got put up on the ESPN draft prospect boards, I wasn't sure what that meant or what the likelihood was of being drafted," Carte said. "Since then I've been looking into it a bit, but I haven't seen a lot of interest as far as teams."
Despite how likely or unlikely a draft selection may be, the very fact that his named popped up ESPN.com gave Carte food for thought.
Carte was a unanimous All Great Northwest Athletic Conference first-team selection his junior and senior years.
In 2004, he made 20 receptions for 217 yards and three touchdowns. Western Washington's coaching staff also used him as an extra blocker, helping the Vikings average 146.9 yards rushing per game.
"I think I was able to add a lot to the blocking aspect of the offensive line and I was able to fortunately have a few catches and contribute a little bit in that area," Carte said.
Carte dominated the high school gridiron, earning first-team All-State and defensive Player of the Year honors in his senior year with the Crimson Bears. He graduated in 2000.
The 6-foot-4, 249-pound Carte made the transition to tight end in Bellingham and transformed himself into a solid blocker and reliable red-zone option.
"I don't think I could probably make a tackle now if I tried," Carte deadpanned.
For more on Rick Carte and other tight ends eligible for the 2005 NFL draft, visit:http://proxy.espn.go.com/nfldraft/draft05/tracker/position?id=86
The odds of Carte being selected on either Saturday or Sunday by an NFL team are slim at best. If Carte goes undrafted, he could still latch onto a team by signing as an unrestricted free agent. If he makes a team, he could be assigned to a practice squad or to NFL Europe. The Canadian Football League, Arena Football League and a2 are options if Carte wants to pursue a professional career.
If nothing pans out in professional football, Carte plans on putting his business degree to good use and following through on some interviews in the Seattle area.
Whatever Carte's future may be, the former Juneau Youth Football League and high school standout will be near the game he loves.
"I've played football since I was 10 or 12," Carte said. "It's always something I've thought about, coaching at the youth level. It's a great sport. I don't think that if I'm unable to continue playing that I'll be done with the sport."
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