NFL player shares secrets of sucess

Published 12:03 am Saturday, April 12, 2014

brittney lohmiller | The Natchez Democrat — Detroit Lions cornerback Don Carey speaks  at Copiah-Lincoln Community College about how to achieve life goals Friday afternoon.

brittney lohmiller | The Natchez Democrat — Detroit Lions cornerback Don Carey speaks at Copiah-Lincoln Community College about how to achieve life goals Friday afternoon.

NATCHEZ — Detroit Lions football player Don Carey met with the Copiah Lincoln Community College student body Friday to share society’s best-kept secret.

Carey preached that the overstated cliché — you can be anything you want to be in life — is only true if one’s willing to work toward that goal.

“There should be a comma and an explanation after that,” Carey said. “If you are diligent, if you are disciplined and if you are willing to sacrifice some things, you can be whatever you want to be.”

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Carey, who was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 2009 before going to Jacksonville and Detroit, signed a three-year extension to play cornerback with the Lions in January. Carey said he’s taking advantage of his platform to tell his story and spread the gospel through Don Carey International Ministries.

“People allow you to be a lot more lenient (as an NFL player) in what you talk about,” Carey said. “The ‘God-topic’ isn’t supposed to be talked about in the schools.”

Along with sharing a few Bible scriptures, Carey stresses work ethic because that’s what made him an NFL player.

Carey’s mother remarried when he was 13, forcing him to move from Michigan to Virginia, where he was taught discipline through folding his own clothes and making his bed a certain way. His stepfather made him identify three long-term goals, write them on an index card and place it above his bed, so it would be the first and last thing he saw everyday. His three goals were graduate high school, graduate college and play in the NFL.

“Do you know why he made me do that?” Carey asked the audience. “Most likely, multiple people around you do not share your goals, desires or aspirations. It’s very easy to be influenced by individuals around you.”

Playing in the NFL was a stretch for a man that lacked size and ran a 5.0 in the 40-yard dash. “I was hands down the smallest person on the team,” Carey said. “One thing I had that nobody on that team could outdo is work. I had an attitude. I almost had a small man complex.”

Carey worked hard enough to earn a scholarship at Norfolk State as a 5’9,” 135-pound safety. In order to reach the NFL, Carey had to do more than go to class, lift weights and practice with the team.

“Instead of waking up for breakfast, I woke up to lift weights with the track team, and then I would go eat breakfast,” Carey said. “Then, I would go to class, come back and practice, and then I would go back to practice on my own, before going to class and study hall.”

Because of his work ethic, he started all four years and became the first player in Norfolk State history to be selected in the NFL draft. Scouts took notice when Norfolk played a Ray Rice-led Rutgers team.

Carey put the left side of the field on an island, and a scout came up to him after saying, “you don’t do anything great, but you do a lot of good things.”

After being drafted, Carey set out on a journey to impact those around him, pulling them along for the journey, which ultimately defines success by his standards.

“I have a motto that states, ‘success is not only defined by the milestones I personally reach but also by the ones I impact along the way,” Carey said. “So anytime I get a chance to allow our future to think critically, I jump on it.”