The Montreal Alouettes found a diamond in the rough this season. However, Jim Popp isn't sure how long he'll be able to admire wide receiver Duron Carter.
"Do I think we are going to lose him? Absolutely," general manager and head coach said on the latest Als This Week on TSN 690.
Popp understands that having a young, talented wide receiver has its negatives; that every catch and every touchdown will not only motivate any player to do more but it'll attract suitors from down South.
"He's a very intelligent young man and he's only 22 years old. He's going to get bigger and stronger and more mature," Popp continued.
At 6'5", 205 pounds, Carter is already big and strong, it's the maturing that has been amplified in his first professional football season. Just like many American-born CFL player, let alone the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Cris Carter, he still thinks of the National Football League as an option.
"The NFL has always been a dream of mine, but I'm doing well right now and I'm comfortable," Carter said after practice Wednesday, in preparation for the East Semi-Final.
Both Carter and Popp know that the NFL isn't around the corner this winter because he still has a year left on his contract. Plus, Carter was quick to point out and ease the mind of Alouettes fans that he isn't ready to hold out for the opportunity to go South like Hamilton's former WR/KR Chris Williams.
"We're taking it a day at a time, we're not trying to do a (Chris) Williams from last year, none of that," said Carter.
That'll make Popp happy, if he already wasn't with his 49 receptions, 909 yards and five touchdowns. Those are numbers that would make any GM/head coach smile over an 18-game season, let alone the 11 games Carter played this year.
If you were to pro-rate his numbers to a full season, Carter would have had 80 receptions, 1487 yards and eight touchdowns. That yardage would be tops in the league, ahead of the Eskimos' Fred Stamps, his receptions and touchdowns, good for fourth overall.
This is also Carter's first season of competitive football in three years, so he's very appreciative for the opportunity Popp and the Alouettes have given him.
"I'm just getting back into playing games and everything, I'm really fortunate to be playing for Montreal."
He'll be playing a big role for the Alouettes this Sunday against the Tiger-Cats in the East Semi-Final. Two of his three 100-yard receiving games have come against Hamilton's defence. He totaled 17 catches, 285 yards and two scores in the three games against Hamilton.
Carter is ready to make waves this weekend and next season for the Alouettes, but Popp knows he's shining too bright to keep him around forever.
"With his bloodline and everything he can do, we're only going to have him in Montreal for so long," Popp lamented.