TJ Carrie gives back, reflects on his own open-heart surgery

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Many NFL fans know T.J. Carrie as the cornerback on the Oakland Raiders, but not everyone knows his backstory.Carrie, 26, had a condition earlyShamarko Thomas Authentic Jersey  in his high school career that required open-heart surgery. The doctors found a faulty coronary valve, per The Modesto Bee, and were able to correct it, saving his life and his eventual NFL career."I had to make sure everything was working correctly," Carrie told the publication about his surgery.The offseason has begun for Oakland Raiders. Want the latest news on the team sent straight to your inbox? – Sign up for our FREE Raiders newsletter now!Now Carrie gives back to kids with heart disease. He is the guest speaker at Camp Taylor’s 15th annual Valentine Hearts dinner and auction this Saturday."Camp Taylor is so good in that they bring kids together who are going through the same process," he said, per The Modesto Bee. "If a kid is afraid to be who they are because of a scar on their body, they lose that spirit. No matter what kind of surgery you have, I’m living proof that you can continue to have that dream and be great. And then they can reach back and grab other kids in the same way."After heart surgery, Carrie wasn't a highly  touted recruit coming out of high school, but he went on to make the team at Ohio and become a starter. He later became a seventh-round pick of the Raiders, fulfilling his dream to make it to the NFL.Carrie will use his story to inspire kids with medical struggles similar to the ones he experienced."There is nothing different between me and those kids. We’re all the same," he said. "They’ll have days where they’ll feel OK and others when you ask, ‘Why me?’ One of the things I struggled with is seeing my life after the surgery. I want the kids to know they can be whatever they want to be in spite of the trouble they’re going through."Carrie is a solid contributor who just completed his third professional season. He has appeared in 44 games and made 21 starts since joining the Raiders, recording  three career interceptions and defending a total of 21 passes. He has also forced three fumbles, recovered three more and chipped in as a punt returner over the years.Next season will be a big one for Carrie. His is going into a contract year, and D.J. Hayden may not be back. That means he could see increased playing time as the team's nickel back, potentially leading to a decent payday around this time next year.
Posted 09 Mar 2017

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