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Former substitute teacher finally makes an NFL roster after refusing to give up on a promise

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeAndre Carter landed his spot on the roster after years of hard work and dedication. (Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Wide receiver DeAndre Carter will be fulfilling a dream this NFL season, after making the final team roster for the Philadelphia Eagles. But the dream isn't entirely his own, and it's been a tough road to get there.

What's his story?

Carter's no stranger to rejection. He went undrafted after graduating from Sacramento State, and has since been released by the San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders, and Baltimore Ravens. At 25, he has yet to be on the field for a single snap in the NFL.

But he never gave up on making a team because of a promise he made to his brother, Kaylan Carter.

In high school, Kaylan had a heart attack while lifting weights, and was diagnosed with an enlarged heart — ending his own dream of becoming a professional football player. While he lay in the hospital, DeAndre vowed that he would fulfill that dream for both of them, but Kaylan passed away before being able to see his brother's achievement on his behalf.

Since then, DeAndre has worked tirelessly for team after team, training through the years and even working as a substitute teacher during the 2016-17 school year.

Andre Carter, DeAndre's father told KOVR-TV, "You know he's 25 years old. A lot of people at that point, their windows been closed to get into the league. And he used his brother's situation to keep driving him."

The 5-8, 185-pound receiver gave the Eagles his all in the preseason, landing him a spot on the 53-man roster. He finished the preseason with 10 catches for 178 yards.

"Honestly I just feel like the Eagles gave me a great opportunity to go out and showcase how I can play football," DeAndre told 247Sports after making the cut.

"I'm not saying that other places didn't give me an equal chance as the Eagles did, but I felt like I made more of this opportunity. I came in. I played better. I made [more] plays than I have in other camps, in other preseasons, and the numbers show it."

He added, "It's just about how much work you put it. I came in and put a lot of extra time in to learn the playbook so I could be on top of it so I could get the reps I needed in practice. And I feel like I did that."

What else?

DeAndre Carter will be wearing the No. 16 uniform during Thursday night's game between Philadelphia and the Atlanta Falcons.

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