It’s easy to see how motivated DeAndre Carter is when he takes the field for the Washington Football Team.
If a kickoff goes too deep into the end zone for him to return it, his frustration is visible. You might see him angrily pump his fists or pound his helmet to lament the touchdown he couldn’t score.
What you might not realize during those plays is where Carter’s motivation comes from.
“You gotta find a ‘why,’ a reason why. I was in college, my little brother passed away. Kaylan Carter passed away from heart complications,” Carter said in a recent episode of Hang Time’, an interview series with WFT punter Tress Way.
Kaylan collapsed during a training session with his high school football team in 2013. He would pass away days later at age 17 from complications from an enlarged heart.
“And I made him a promise on his deathbed that I would make it in this league for both of us,” Carter said. “It was both of our dreams and I kinda took it upon myself to do all the things that we wanted to do that he never got the opportunity to do. So, you know, it helps me. It gets me up every day.”
The Carters realized that dream on May 3, 2015 when DeAndre was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Baltimore Ravens. Six years and seven teams later, Carter finds himself as a key member of Washington’s special teams unit, performing the duties as the primary kick return man.
His production on the field caught the attention of national media during WFT’s 34-30 win over Atlanta in Week 4. Carter burst the doors open on the second half with a 101-yard kick return touchdown.
It was the first TD of Carter’s career. He remembered his late brother when discussing the score after the game.
“This play right here—it’s big for him. I did it for him,” Carter said on the field after the final whistle. “It was big, man, and you know, I hope he’s watching down. I hope he’s proud of me today. It’s big for all of us.”
Kaylan’s memory motivates DeAndre every day. When No. 1 in Burgundy & Gold makes an electric juke, breaks a tackle or scores a touchdown, the ‘Carter’ on the back of his jersey represents Kaylan just as much as DeAndre.