5 biggest turkeys in Carolina Panthers franchise history

(Brian Bahr/Allsport via Getty Images) Rae Carruth
(Brian Bahr/Allsport via Getty Images) Rae Carruth /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) Rae Carruth /

Rae Carruth

Big things were expected of Rae Carruth when the Carolina Panthers selected him at No. 27 overall in the 1997 NFL Draft. His rookie exploits left even more reasons to be encouraged, but things started to trend on a downward curve pretty quickly.

Carruth was targeted 81 times by the Panthers in his first season at the next level, bringing in 44 receptions for 545 receiving yards and a score. But problems on and off the field began to surface from then on which culminated in Carolina parting ways with the wide receiver following the 1999 campaign.

Not exactly what everyone was hoping for.

The former Colorado player didn’t end up getting another snap in a competitive environment. However, much worse was to follow as Carruth was sentenced to 19 years in prison for conspiracy to murder his pregnant girlfriend by hiring hitman Van Brett Watkins to shoot her.

He was released in 2018 and has made strides to turn his life around. Carruth had all the talent needed to become a success in the NFL, but this is obviously too little, too late to not look back at his time in the league with a huge sense of regret.

Carruth’s story is another tragic tale of what can happen when an exciting prospect goes down the wrong path and still serves as a stark warning to hopefuls today.