By Steve Large

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — When the Philadelphia Eagles kick off the 2018 NFL season against the Atlanta Falcons, a Sacramento State receiver will be on the sidelines.

The Eagles announced DeAndre Carter made their final team roster just days before the start of their season. This comes nearly four years after Carter played his last game at Sacramento State and after repeated cuts from NFL practice squads.

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But a promise is a promise.

Carter’s younger brother, Kaylan, suffered a heart attack during a high school weightlifting workout. Doctors diagnosed him with an enlarged heart. As he lay in the hospital, Carter promised to make the NFL for both of them. Kaylan wouldn’t live long enough to see his brother take the field in an NFL game.

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The road to this first NFL game hasn’t been easy for DeAndre Carter.

Out of high school, Carter only received one scholarship, and that was to Sacramento State. Head coach Jody Sears marveled at Carter’s muscles.

“He looked like Mighty Mouse,” Sears said. “The bar was bending. I was like ‘Oh my gosh’ this guy’s 5’8″.”

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Then there was his strength of persistence.

“There was an inner drive, there’s no doubt about it,” Sears said. “I think everybody, it was very well known.”

But after his time at Sacramento State, his prospects dimmed. He was cut year after year while trying to make an NFL roster.

“He hasn’t really played a game since he left Sac State,” his father Andre Carter said.

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With that much time passed, it seemed like the dream may never come true.

“You know he’s 25 years old, A lot of people at that point, their windows been closed to get into the league,” Andre Carter said. “And he used his brother’s situation to keep driving him.”

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But now Carter is getting his chance to play in the NFL. He’ll be in Philadelphia on Thursday night wearing the No. 16, fulfilling the promise he made to his little brother.