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Kenneth Leonard Carter, also known as Ki-Jana, ( ; born September 12, 1973) is a former American football running back in the National Football League who played for the Cincinnati Bengals and later the Washington Redskins and the New Orleans Saints. His nickname, "Ki-Jana", is from a character in the movie Shaft in Africa and Carter has gone by that name since his birth. After being selected as the number one overall pick in the 1995 NFL Draft, he tore his anterior cruciate ligament on his third carry of his first preseason NFL game of his rookie year. After never fully recovering, Carter compiled 1,144 rushing yards in ten seasons.

Carter is now an entrepreneur and sports blogger at He founded Byoglobe, a sanitation technology company specializing in disinfection of MRSA-prone facilities, in 2008. He serves as the -based company's chief executive officer.

High school career

At Westerville South High Schoolmarker in Westerville, Ohiomarker, Carter starred in football, basketball, and track. In football, he was a 1991 Parade All-American selection.

College career

Carter was a standout player at Penn State along with a strong group of offensive players including future NFL starters Jeff Hartings, Joe Jurevicius, Kerry Collins, OJ McDuffie, Bobby Engram and Kyle Brady. Together this explosive offense propelled the 1994 Penn State team to a 12-0 undefeated season. At Penn State Carter wore the number 32, which previously was worn by running back Blair Thomas. Despite playing only three seasons, he is still in the top ten among Penn State running backs, having compiled 2,829 yards rushing on 395 attempts and scoring 34 touchdowns. His best single game came against Michigan State in 1994, when he rushed for 227 yards on 27 carries and scored five touchdowns. Carter helped lead the 1994 Penn State football team to an undefeated record and a berth in the Rose Bowl. He earned co-MVP honors during the Rose Bowl game, rushing for 156 yards and 3 touchdowns on 21 carries. He ran for an 83 yard touchdown on the first offensive play of the game, which is the third longest run in Rose Bowl history and the longest run in Penn State bowl history. Carter also added touchdown runs of 17 and 3 yards in the 3rd quarter. This would be Carter's final game as a Nittany Lion, as he was encouraged by head coach Joe Paterno to forgo his senior season and enter the NFL Draft. "This is the first time I have told anybody who has not graduated that I felt they ought to leave," Paterno said. He finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting for 1994.

 Regular Season Rushing Receiving Kickoff Returns
Season Team Att Yds Avg Lg TD Rec Yds Avg Lg TD No Yds Avg Lg TD
1992 Penn State 42 264 6.3 4 0 0 -- 0 0 4 76 19.0 0
1993 Penn State 155 1026 6.6 7 6 49 8.2 0 3 71 23.7 0
1994 Penn State 198 1539 7.8 23 14 123 8.8 0 4 81 20.3 0
Total 3 seasons 395 2829 7.2 34 20 172 8.6 0 11 228 20.7 0

 Post Season Rushing Receiving
Bowl Game Opponent Att Yds Avg Lg TD Rec Yds Avg Lg TD
1993 Blockbuster Bowl Stanford 3 7 2.3 0 0 0 -- 0 0
1994 Florida Citrus Bowl Tennessee 19 93 4.9 2 0 0 -- 0 0
1995 Rose Bowl Oregon 21 156 7.8 83t 3 1 2 2.0 2 0
Total 3 Bowl Games 43 256 6.0 83t 5 1 2 2.0 2 0

Professional career

The Cincinnati Bengals selected Ki-Jana with the first overall pick of the 1995 NFL Draft. They acquired the pick in a trade with the expansion Carolina Panthers. He signed a 7 year, $19.2 million dollar deal which included a $7.125 million dollar signing bonus, which at the time was an NFL record contract for a rookie.

Carter tore a ligament in his knee on his third carry of his first preseason game of his rookie year, and never fully recovered. He played on the Washington Redskins from 2001-2002 and the New Orleans Saints from 2003-2004 contributing as a part-timer. He only had 464 yards in a single season as his career best.

In 2007, Yahoo! Sports named him the worst number-one pick since the AFL-NFL merger.


  1. Robinson, Charles. Worst all-time first-round picks. Yahoo! Sports, 2007-04-24.

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