Earlier this week, a unique fan creation showed up at Redskins Park in the form of a Redskins-themed championship belt. And why not?
The belt comes to Ashburn from James Makle, a firefighter from Prince George’s County, who made the belt for himself a few years ago. As he stated in his accompanying letter, he was sending the letter to the team so that they may be inspired by the support that fans still have for the team:
I decided to send the belt now because I feel the fans need this…the fans still support the team. I see all the signs, jerseys and car flags. The fans still LOVE their REDSKINS. I hope you guys love the belt…it’s just my way of saying thank you. Bring the fun back to the NFL.
With belt in-hand, I knew there was only one man who could truly appreciate the magnificence of a championship belt: defensive end Adam Carriker. Carriker is an unrepentant fan of professional wrestling, and he also happens to look the part. He was more than happy to take some pictures and share his wrestling story.
But first, here’s a clip of Carriker talking to the “Schick and Nick Show” on AM 1620 in Omaha, Neb. about his favorite wrestlers growing up:
“I remember growing up watching the Monday Night Wars with my dad,” he told me after the fact. “But I remember when Hulk Hogan turned heel, my dad turned it off and forbade me from watching it anymore. I would still sneak it in during commercial breaks in the Monday Night Football game or whatever, but I never openly watched it until much later.
“Come to find out later, he still watched it too, just not openly.”
Carriker openly admits that he considered pro wrestling if the NFL hadn’t worked out, but I think he might be too humble of a guy to pull off the larger-than-life personality of a wrestler. But–because I knew he had one–I had to ask what his wrestling moniker would be:
“See, I’ve thought about it, but nobody likes my idea for a name,” he said. “My choice would be ‘Dark Horse,’ but I think you’d have to know my story to truly understand it.”
As Carriker describes it, he’s never been given an opportunity in sports, and has always excelled when everyone counts him out. Starting in middle school, he never got to start at quarterback until the coach’s kid was out of town. Given the opportunity to play, he threw four touchdowns and won the game.
Coming out of high school, some of the Nebraska media wrote him off, saying he was too slow to play defense and should be moved to the offensive line. It was during his freshman year that the strength and conditioning coach at Nebraska told him that he was a “dark horse” to be one of the team’s best players. Sure enough, by the end of his college career, he was a first-round pick.
In St. Louis, the coaching staff changed after his rookie year, and he told that he was too big and slow for any spot on the line. All of a sudden, he was being labeled a bust.
Carriker also shared his thoughts on the difference between St. Louis and Washington to the folks at AM 1620:
When he was jettisoned to the Redskins, he said that it put him back in his element as a dark horse football player. Carriker credits his excellence this year to being back in the category of being counted out.
“I mean, it almost feels like this is my element,” he said with a smile. His career-high five sacks this season would tend to support that notion.
Could Carriker have a successful second career in the ring? It’s possible someday, he says. But for right now, he said that he has his sights set on bringing a championship belt (and accompanying ring and trophy) to Washington.