It’s crazy how careers can suddenly change course. Carter is an NFL Hall-of-Famer but nothing from his first couple of seasons suggested he would ever make it. In his rookie year, he ran for five yards in nine games. That was a terrible return and things didn’t get much better over the next couple of seasons. While his numbers rose, so did his bad behavior. The Eagles cut him for his off-field conduct.
But Carter turned his life around and deserves a lot of credit for that. He played in eight consecutive Pro Bowls and was one of the Vikings’ greatest ever receivers. Furthermore, in 1994, he led the NFL in receptions. One reason why many athletes perform badly at a young age is that they lack maturity. A bit of age and experience can do wonders for their careers.
The first pitcher in major league history to win the Cy Young Award in four consecutive seasons, Maddux was a phenom during his prime. He won the World Series with the Atlanta Braves in 1995 and became a Hall of Famer in 2014. Due to his long list of accomplishments, you might be surprised his first season was terrible.
Maddux compiled a 6-14 record with a 5.61 ERA in his first full season with the Chicago Cubs in 1987. Nobody expected him to become an 18-time Gold Glove Award winner. Maddux also holds the record for most seasons finishing top 10 in the league in wins with 18.
A Broncos legend, Elway spent all 16 seasons of his playing career in Denver. Initially drafted by the Baltimore Colts, Elway famously said he would refuse to play for the downtrodden franchise, forcing a trade to Denver for a better future. However, his rookie season was definitely terrible. Check out some of these statistics.
Elway started 10 games in 1983, throwing seven touchdown passes to 14 interceptions and completing just 47.5% of his passes. The Broncos lost patience after three straight losses and benched him for the rest of the season. It all turned out well when Elway became a two-time Super Bowl winner and nine-time Pro Bowler.
‘The Black Mamba’ is one of the greatest players in basketball history. But he didn’t have the most inspiring start to his career with a very average rookie season. He only managed to average about 15 minutes per game, scoring 7.6 ppg on 41.7 percent from the field. It was a slow start to an incredible career.
Of course, he did come to the NBA directly from high school. Furthermore, he was the youngest player in the history of the league at the time. However, the following year he truly sprung into life and emerged as one of the most exciting stars on the Lakers’ roster. The rest is history.
It’s easy to forget that Favre played for the Atlanta Falcons. But failure there seemed inevitable. Jerry Ganville never wanted him and he only attempted four passes as a Falcon. After a terrible but blessedly short time in Atlanta, the Falcons traded him to Green Bay. Then, he then became one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history.
A three-time MVP, Favre held the award for consecutive years from 1995-97. He also won the Super Bowl in 1997 and made the Pro Bowl 11 times. Furthermore, Favre led the NFL in touchdowns four times and was the NFL’s all-time leader in starts and wins.
One of the best point guards to play the game, Nash was a brilliant player. Despite never getting an NBA ring, he’s still a legendary figure. The Canadian didn’t have a good start to life though, with a terrible rookie season. Nash averaged 3.3 points per game, 2.1 assists, and shot 42.3 percent from the field.
Those are bleak numbers, but he went on to prove his doubters wrong. He was the fulcrum of an excellent Phoenix Suns’ team featuring Shawn Marion, Amare Stoudemire, and Leandro Barbosa. In short, the Canadian was a two-time MVP award winner for a reason.
Depending on who you ask, Manning may just be the best quarterback in NFL history. However, the fact is that his first season in the big time was terrible. While his passing was good, he led the league in interceptions with an astounding 28. Meanwhile, the Colts were terrible and only managed three wins.
However, he became a two-time Super Bowl champion, a five-time NFL MVP, made the Pro Bowl 14 times, and became the Colts leader in all major statistical categories for quarterbacks. So it’s fair to say everything turned out ok for ‘The Sheriff.’