EATONVILLE — Greg Carr is here, on a practice field, trying to learn a new offense in a league new to him.
Carr was once there, as one of the top offensive threats at Florida State, catching touchdown passes on games often seen at 3:30 p.m. on ABC or broadcast on ESPN or ESPN2. While not necessarily appointment TV, the wide receiver stood out not only for his 6-foot-6 frame but his playmaking ability.
Former Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden can tell you. The first play after FSU forced a turnover during Carr's time in Tallahassee was not difficult to predict, the Hall of Fame coach said.
"We'd throw a bomb to him on the first play and get a big play out of it," Bowden said. "With his height and his jumping ability, he'd win a lot of the battles.
"Greg Carr caught a lot of touchdowns for us."
Twenty-nine in all, but since playing his final game at FSU in 2008, Carr seemingly has been everywhere. Now he is back in Florida, trying to earn a roster spot for the Orlando Predators as they prepare for their Arena Football League season opener March 16 against the Jacksonville Sharks at UCF's CFE Arena.
Carr went undrafted by the NFL but made it late into training camp before being cut by the San Diego Chargers.
Then he turned to the Canadian Football League, serving stints with Winnipeg, Saskatchewan, Edmonton and Calgary that spanned four seasons and totalled 117 catches for 1,664 yards and 11 touchdowns.
"There's been a lot of bumps in the road, but it's about being able to withstand all you've been through and keep fighting," Carr (6 feet 6, 230 pounds) said. "That's what I am all about."
Realistically the NFL appears out of Carr's reach at this point, but his drive to make an impact remains. Given his long strides played out on a 50-yard field that is bite-sized compared to what he is used to, it will be interesting to see how he adjusts to the arena game.
And how other teams adjust to him.
"There are a few, but there are not a whole lot of 6-5 guys that can run in our league,'' said Predators offensive coordinator Siaha Burley, a former UCF wide receiver. "The league is starting to give the big guy some love.
"I'm just now tapping into the flexibility that he brings. I am finding that he can run a little bit more than I thought. I'm just trying to utilize his potential. It's really up to him.''
Carr arrived at FSU as a highly regarded recruit from Citra North Marion and caught a total of 21 touchdown passes in his first two seasons.
"He's going to be a touchdown-making machine for the Predators," FSU wide receivers coach Lawrence Dawsey said.
The last time that Carr played a game that mattered in Orlando, he caught eight passes for 78 yards and a touchdown as FSU beat Wisconsin 42-13 in the 2008 Champs Sports Bowl.
It was his final college game before setting out on a path that has taken him here, there, everywhere.
"It's been frustrating at times, but at the same time, I feel like it's going to be a great story at the end," Carr said. "If I just keep working hard, the rest will take care of itself."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun