Cris Carter credits Buddy Ryan with saving his life

Former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Buddy Ryan on the sideline in September 1986.

George Gojkovich/Getty Images

Cris Carter’s road to the Pro Football Hall of Fame was paved with some large roadblocks.

The wide receiver strugged with drug and alcohol abuse during his first three seasons in the league with the Eagles — a statistically productive but personally destructive period in which he failed two drug tests and nearly got himself suspended for a full season.

After the death of legendary NFL coach Buddy Ryan, who served as the Eagles head coach when Carter played in Philadelphia, the wideout posted a tribute to Ryan:

The "tough love" refers to Ryan’s decision to cut the troubled wideout during the 1990 preseason. Carter has explained that he reached rock bottom after that jolt and subsequently turned his life around:

Carter poses with his bust during the 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement.