According to Chris Carr, who enjoyed a solid nine-year career in the NFL as a return specialist and cornerback, his mother used to tell him that every morning he woke up as a professional football player, he should be thinking about the day that life would end.
Carr, who played 125 games in his career, for the Raiders, Titans, Ravens, Chargers and Saints, led the league in kickoff returns and return yards in his first two seasons, 2004 and 2005. The undrafted Boise State product, who was a full-time starter at cornerback just one year, in 2010 with Baltimore, totaled seven interceptions, one of which he returned 100 yards for his only NFL touchdown and over 7,000 return yards on kickoffs and punts.
But Carr clearly heeded his mother’s words.
This weekend, Carr, now 34, will be among the graduates in the George Washington University Law School’s Class of 2017.
He isn’t the first former NFL player to go into law – before he became a U.S. Supreme Court justice, Byron “Whizzer” White was a first-round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1938; Hall of Fame defensive tackle Alan Page was a justice on Minnesota’s Supreme Court, and Ed Newman, a longtime offensive lineman with the Miami Dolphins, is an active judge in Florida.
But the number of NFL players who begin a law career is low.
Carr’s interest in the field began at Boise State, when he took classes in civil liberties and constitutional law.
His professor, Todd Lochner, told the Washington Post that Carr was a standout student.
“One of the things I noticed about Chris was that even as an undergraduate, his ability to analyze case law, reason through the case law, was as good as first- or even second-year law students that I knew,” Lochner said. “He was spectacular in that regard.”
So before Carr had played his final snap, with San Diego in 2013, he already knew law school was his next stop. In a story with The MMQB during his first semester, Carr said he chose George Washington over UCLA and Arizona State because he wanted his family to experience the energy of Washington, D.C.
“There was never a question of whether I was going to go to law school or not,” Carr said. “It was just when I was going to go, and how long I was going to be able to play, and how long I was going to enjoy playing.”
A married father of three young children – five-year-old Octavian, three-year-old Scarlett and baby Kelly – Carr is learning Spanish and has an offer in hand to join Zeman and Petterson, a Virginia firm specializing in immigration.