PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — It was an upset: Former NFL football player Don Carey, a political novice, was elected to Chesapeake City Council Tuesday night with stunning results.  

The score: 17,502 votes. Carey racked up the highest amount of votes in the at-large races.

The storyline sounds familiar. Less than two years ago, former NFL player Aaron Rouse, also a newcomer, was elected to the Virginia Beach City Council with the highest score for at-large candidates.

The region now has two former NFL players involved in politics.

Carey, a Norfolk State Univerity alum, played pro ball for the Detroit Lions and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Rouse, of Virginia Tech, played for the Green Bay Packers, New York Giants and the Arizona Cardinals

Carey can now spike the ball in politics after unseating veteran councilman Dwight Parker. The former safety is playing it safe.

“We just wanted to provide another option to the people of Chesapeake and we are honored that they took a chance on us,” said Carey.

Pandemic politics is all he knows. Carey’s satellite campaign consisted of videos, emails, and phone calls.  

There was no shaking hands and kissing babies.

“No, none of that. It was OK as long as everyone followed the same rules, then we are OK,” said Carey

As a councilman, Carey wants to tackle the issue of curbside recycling. The council this year has to decide whether to extend its contract with a provider. As the pandemic claims lives and sickens others, Carey plans to offer tips on improved health, especially in the African American community.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately claimed the lives of minorities who have underlying health conditions.

Virginia Beach Councilman Aaron Rouse, who is now running for mayor, offers advice and support to the former NFL safety and now political rookie.

“You have to work with a lot of people who may not have the same perspective as you do. You do it with respect and class and it’s about making sure the team wins,” said Rouse.

The NFL players-turned-politicians have similar life stories that start in the city of Norfolk. Rouse spent his early years in a public housing community before moving to Virginia Beach. Carey’s childhood was difficult as his father was caught up in the drug scene. Carey’s father was released from prison just last year and today he is proud of the son who carries his name.

Carey is working on his master of theological studies degree with a focus on the Old Testament. He will be sworn in as a member of the Chesapeake City Council on June 30.

You can read more about Don J. Carey III in his biography: “It’s Not Because I’m Better Than You.”

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