Blue’s smile, highlights hid his pain

Published 8:58 am Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Nearly 40 years later, Carl Blue’s football legend is still going strong in Warren County.

The former Warren Central running back rushed for 4,196 yards and 45 touchdowns in his high school career, and later went on to star at Jackson State. His rare blend of power and speed are remembered with awe by those who saw him play.

It was also the darkest time of his life.

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Both of Blue’s parents were killed in a house fire while he was in high school. He used football to shut out and mask the pain, but it only helped for a few hours every Friday and Saturday night.

Carl Blue

Carl Blue

“It was a lot of anger. I was doing it for mom and dad. I blamed God, because I couldn’t understand why he took two people that I needed the most,” Blue said. “All that stuff I was carrying, you can have a smile on your face but nothing is there inside. I couldn’t wait to get on the football field and have people love me.”

When football was no longer available, Blue turned to drugs.

“I was on crack for a little bit. Five or six months,” he said. “I got to a point where I knew my life wasn’t going right.”

At that point, Blue turned to God and got his life back on track. He’s been clean and sober for 29 years and now lives in Bakewell, Tenn., with his wife of 27 years, Cara. The angry running back is now a man at peace with God, active in his church, and about to return to his hometown of Vicksburg to connect his two lives.

Blue will be inducted Thursday in the inaugural class of the Vicksburg Warren School District Athletic Hall of Fame. A banquet for he and the other members — Cynthia Hall, Barry Hassell, Sean Brewer and Tony Smith — will be held at 6 p.m. at Roca Restaurant and Bar. Tickets are $20 and available at the VWSD athletic office on Mission 66.

“It’s an encouraging feeling. I felt like I had left a lot of people behind me and let a lot of people down that had been supporting me,” Blue said. “I beat myself up for a while. I knew I had to get back in order.”

Nowadays, Blue is philosophical about his struggles earlier in life. The road to the bottom, he said, helped lead him back to peace and salvation.

“I had to go through what I went through,” he said. “Some people have to get to the bottom before they can submit to God.”

Blue has faced more challenges in recent years. He had a stroke in 2010, and is now legally blind from glaucoma. His positive attitude hasn’t waned, though, and he’s quick with a joke — even at his own expense.

“I always wanted to retire early, and I did,” the 54-year-old said with a chuckle.

Blue still cuts his own grass at the house he and his wife have owned since 1992. He said he plans to attend Thursday’s induction ceremony with a smile on his face. This time, it’ll be genuine and not hiding any pain at all.

“I’ll be there if I’ve got to walk,” he said with a laugh. “I might not be there on time, but I’ll be there.”


This is the fourth in a series of stories profiling members of the inaugural class of the Vicksburg Warren School District Athletic Hall of Fame.

The induction banquet is Thursday at 6 p.m. at Roca Restaurant and Bar. Tickets are $20 and available at the VWSD athletic office on Mission 66.

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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