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The Dallas Cowboys needed defensive help heading into the 1994 season. To solidify the front, first-year head coach Barry Switzer and the team selected two-time All-American defensive end Shante Carver out of Arizona State University with the No. 23 pick.

During his four seasons with the Cowboys, Carver encountered trouble on and off the field, including a violation of the NFL’s anti-drug policy and a subsequent league suspension. It was a precursor of things to come as he would find himself years later arrested on drug-related charges.

Shante Carver becomes college football All-American

Shante Carver made an impressive debut his redshirt freshman year at Arizona State University, recording 48 tackles and a freshman-record 10 sacks.

He continued to dominate throughout his college career, recording double-digit sacks each season as a starter. In his final two seasons with the Sun Devils, he received All-Pac 10 and All-American honors and was a finalist for the Outland Trophy in 1993. 

He finished his career with 225 tackles and a school-record 41 sacks. He was inducted into ASU Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.

Lackluster career and off-field problems with Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys selected Carver with the No. 23 overall pick in the 1994 NFL Draft. He endured an injury-riddled rookie season and played in just 10 games. That season was most memorable for an off-field incident when authorities found Carver’s truck overturned on a Dallas expressway, and he had fled the scene. 

Although Carver had a limited amount of individual success his sophomore year, he was part of a Cowboys squad that won the Super Bowl, where he recorded a career-high five tackles. 

The following year, Carver missed six games after the NFL suspended him for violating the league’s anti-drug policy. He started the final seven games of the regular season and two playoff games and recorded 33 tackles and three sacks. 

Carver played his final year in 1997 and led the team with six sacks. However, after the season, the Cowboys opted not to re-sign him.

Shante Carver after the Cowboys

Following his stint in Dallas, Carver pursued professional football for a limited time in the CFL and the lone season of the XFL. In 2001, he reunited with Jerry Jones when he signed to play with the Dallas Desperados of the AFL. He played for three seasons before calling it a career at the end of 2004.

In 2005, he transitioned to coaching as an assistant coach at Scottsdale Community College. After several years at Scottsdale, Carver made coaching stops with a semi-pro football team in the Arizona Football League and as the defensive line coach at an Arizona high school.

In August 2018, Carver made headlines after being arrested at a Border Patrol immigration checkpoint for drug-related charges, according to the Yuma Sun. It was another unfortunate chapter for a player who had so much promise coming out of college but never quite lived up to the expectations. 

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