Clemson cornerback Ryan Carter spoke to the media on Tuesday for the first time since suffering a concussion in Saturday’s win over Florida State.
Carter, who left the game and did not return after absorbing a helmet-to-helmet blow from FSU linebacker Emmett Rice, said he felt the hit was unnecessary.
The hit occurred during a Florida State punt return in the third quarter, when Rice launched into Carter on what appeared to be a crack-back block. After a replay review, Rice was called for targeting and ejected from the contest.
“I kind of see both sides, but to me, I don’t feel like it was really necessary,” Carter said. “I don’t really think I was as close to the play — I wasn’t near the ball, I wasn’t about to make the tackle, so I don’t feel like he had to go to that extent of hitting me like that. I think he could have maybe hit me in the shoulder or hit me lower, and it might have been a better outcome.
“But I guess it kind of is part of football a little bit, but I think when you go a little bit too far, that’s when people starting asking questions, start raising eyebrows. So I thought it was a little bit uncalled for.”
Carter said he has watched film of the play.
“I saw the hit the next day or day after,” Carter said. “It was pretty vicious.”
The hit appeared to briefly knock Carter unconscious as he laid motionless on the ground for a few seconds after.
Carter described his state in the immediate aftermath as “really foggy, really fuzzy.”
“When I was in the (medical) tent, they were explaining to me what just happened, and it took me a minute to understand what exactly just took place,” Carter said. “But I think after I got in the locker room and started relaxing and sitting there for a second, it started all coming back and making sense. But yeah, it just happened so fast, I didn’t realize what actually just happened.”
Rice stood over Carter and taunted him after the hit before making a “go to sleep” gesture on his way back to the sideline.
When asked about the gesture, Carter sort of shrugged it off.
“I’m not sure he had to do all that or all that was necessary,” Carter said. “But it is what it is I guess.”
Carter, a fifth-year senior, said he has not felt any lingering effects of the injury.
“The worst for me was I just had a little slight headache the next day,” he said. “But I haven’t had anything else as far as bad symptoms, which I’m very thankful for that.”
Carter, who is in the concussion protocol, said he feels OK but doesn’t know whether he will practice this week or play on Saturday in Clemson’s game against The Citadel.
“I’ve still got to get with Danny (Poole) and the doctors and see what they think is best for me,” Carter said. “As of right now, personally, I think I feel OK. But it’s still up to them ultimately, and we’ll see going forward. But I’m not really sure how it’ll go as far as practice.”
Freshman cornerback A.J. Terrell replaced Carter after the play and helped the Tigers finish off their 31-14 victory over the Seminoles, which clinched Clemson’s third consecutive ACC Atlantic Division title.
“It was real good to see a guy like A.J. Terrell be able to get in there and get the job done,” Carter said. “That was good, valuable experience for him in type of ball game. We were already thin at corner, so it was good to see him step up as a young guy.”