Ex-NFL player Rae Carruth speaks out on heinous crime as his prison release nears

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Rae Carruth went from draft bust to behind bars. Getty Images

Rae Carruth is a name that most fans of the Carolina Panthers and the Colorado Buffaloes undoubtedly want to forget. A star receiver at Colorado, Carruth was Carolina's first-round pick in the 1997 NFL Draft, but his pro career ended abruptly after he was charged and convicted for conspiracy to commit murder in 2001. 

Carruth was found gulity of hiring a triggerman to kill Cherica Adams, a 24-year-old woman that was seven months pregnant with his child, and was sentenced to 18 to 24 years in prison. Now, Carruth's release date is approaching. Oct. 22, 2018 is the day Carruth is slated to leave a North Carolina prison.

His impending release appears to have galvanized the sentimental side of him, as he appears to be ready to break his longtime silence on his crimes. Carruth didn't testify at his own trial, and he's done only one interview. Carruth has met his son, Chancellor Lee Adams, twice. Adams' grandmother (and Cherica's mother), Saundra Adams, has cared for Chancellor, and has staunchly protested the mere thought of Carruth getting custody of his son.

Which leads to Carruth's letter. Carruth penned a 15-page letter to Saundra, telling her that her claims against him are untrue. He made the letter public, with a foreword, saying that releasing the letter wasn't to win the public over but to make people question Saundra's claims.

The letter, which can be read in its entirety here, is incredibly complex. It praises Saundra's care of Chancellor, while also saying that she hasn't been truthful in interviews about Carruth. Saundra has said in the past that she will be at the gates with Chancellor when Carruth is released, and she'll work with him, according to WBTV.

WBTV conducted an interview with Carruth, in which he was candid about some of the circumstances surrounding Cherica's death. He started by talking about Saundra's claims against him, and questioned their truthfulness. "I feel like if I did it in the open, it would put an end to the lies," he said to WBTV. "If I say publicly, 'Ms. Adams, I apologize, Ms. Adams, I take responsibility for what happened,' that she can no longer get on television and do an interview and say Rae has never apologized to me."

When pressed about details on Cherica's death, Carruth was reportedly evasive. But he did take responsibility. Sort of. "I'm apologizing for the loss of her daughter," he said. "I'm apologizing for the impairment of my son (Chancellor has cerebral palsy and permanent brain damage). I feel responsible for everything that happened. And I just want her to know that truly I am sorry for everything."

Carruth also said that he and Cherica should be raising Chancellor together.

"I should be raising my son," he said. "His mother should be raising her son. Ms. Adams should not be doing this and I want that responsibility back. I feel like he might not ever have his mother in his life but he could still have me and I could still make a difference and I don't think that's anyone's responsibility when I'm still here."

This expounds on something that Carruth wrote in the letter, saying that Saundra won't be alive forever. He wants to survive her as Chancellor's guardian.

Carruth's phrasing in the letter, however, is a bit more cavalier.

"Ms. Adams," he wrote. "The story of how you lost your daughter; how Chancellor came into this world; and the way that he has gone on to endure, thrive, and over achieve with you by his side is so heart wrenching and inspiring on its own, that there isn't any need for embellishment or lies. And yet you've made a habit out of doing so in every interview that you've given since the beginning of this whole ordeal."

The letter also addresses his silence, saying he maintained it "reluctantly" out of "respect." But he's now ready to get out and make a change, regardless of what people say.

"When I first got incarcerated I would ask myself how did this happen?" he said. "How are you here? And the number one answer that I had was I didn't have a relationship with God. And I know some people might smirk or laugh about that but I know now that I have a very real relationship with God and that's changed a lot of the ways that I see and view a lot of things."

Carruth's letter also said that calling Cherica his girlfriend was false, with the two merely hooking up. Carruth concedes that he asked about abortion, but after Cherica said she was keeping the baby, he never went back to the topic.

It's a messy situation that will only get messier. Carruth is one of the most infamous NFL names this side of O.J. Simpson, and any topic involving him is controversial. As we get closer to October, now that the seal is broken on Carruth's side of things, Saundra and his war of words will likely only get more intense.

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