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McCarty, Tucker work toward dream

Virgen’s View

February 03, 2012|By Steve Virgen

There were so many stories to discover at the NFL regional combine in Costa Mesa last week. Two stuck out for me: the speedy running back who wants to fulfill his potential; the crafty wide receiver who doesn't want the league to forget about him.

Princeton McCarty, a running back out of Idaho, has always wowed people with his great speed. Saturday wasn't anything different. His time in the 40-yard dash — 4.35 seconds — was the fastest of the day at the combine.

But something went wrong at the end of the run. McCarty pulled his left hamstring. He was one of about 50 offensive players at OCC vying to reach the NFL Super Combine in Detroit next month.

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He didn't want to give up. He continued on to the next skill challenge, the vertical jump. With a tight hamstring, he jumped 36 inches. But that was it. He was done. He couldn't continue.

Even though he didn't finish, McCarty managed to impress the scouts at the combine with his character. He never appeared frustrated or showed anger about his injury. He calmly asked about his options and left the combine, still with a goal in mind and confident about his future.

"My goal is just to play in the league," McCarty said. "I just want to get there and ball."

I've always known McCarty to be confident. In his mind, he knows he can ball with the best of them.

He's had so much promise, so much potential, that he doesn't want it to go to waste.

I covered him when he played at West Bakersfield High. As a senior, he started ahead of Ryan Mathews, a junior at the time, who played in the Pro Bowl on Sunday.

McCarty sees Mathews' success in the league as a starter for the San Diego Chargers and it motivates him.

McCarty's mentor has also been a huge inspiration. That would be Joey Porter, the standout linebacker who has played for the Steelers, Dolphins and Cardinals.

McCarty calls Porter his cousin. Porter, who is also from Bakersfield, enjoyed watching McCarty play in high school. Porter believed McCarty could become something special.

When McCarty tore his left ACL during the Central Section Division II title game, Porter paid for the surgery. Porter had Dr. Neal S. ElAttrache perform the surgery. The doctor has been a consultant to the Dodgers, Lakers and Kings.

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