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Justin McCareins inducted into NIU Athletics Hall of Fame

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Posted: Sunday, October 9, 2011 7:19 pm

At halftime of Saturday's game against Kent State, NIU announced the induction of four individuals, a team and a family into the NIU Athletics Hall of Fame.

Among those inducted was NIU's all-time leading receiver, Justin McCareins, who played for the Huskies from 1998 to 2000. The former Huskie wideout went on to have a productive seven-year career in the NFL, playing for the Tennessee Titans and New York Jets.

McCareins appreciated the honor and attention he received from the Huskies Saturday.

"It feels good to be remembered and recognized," McCareins said. "I haven't thought about college football in a really long while. I've been retired from the NFL for a few years, and I've been busy working hard, focusing on other things. So it feels great to come back and be recognized with this honor."

McCareins, who tops all NIU wide receivers with 204 receptions for 2,991 yards and 29 touchdowns, said he was able to give some advice to the team before it took the field against Kent State.

"One thing I told them was never take a play off," McCareins said. "I like to remind players that when you have those moments when you're tired or your hurt, or maybe you don't want to hit the hole as hard as you could, that you want to make sure that you make the most of every opportunity. Especially at this level, because you never know how long your career is going to last."

After viewing the game from the press box, McCareins still thinks NIU (3-3) can have a winning season.

"I think they have a bunch of talent," McCareins said. "I know they're young on defense, and the defense is taking a lot of heat, but from watching this game, it looks like they have all the defense in the world right now. And if they can keep this up, if everyone can stay healthy, knock on wood, they can get on a winning streak."

After retiring from the NFL after the 2008 season, McCareins said he would like to try his hand at coaching somewhere along the line.

"I volunteered at Boca Raton and helped out a local team down there," McCareins said. "That was a great experience, so hopefully someday I would like to get into coaching high school football."

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