Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 5/29/12

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 20: Brandon Carr #39 of the Kansas City Chiefs stretches before the game against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium on September 20, 2009 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
The night of March 13 was supposed to be a joyous one for Brandon Carr. The first day of NFL free agency had opened and he was arguably the best cornerback on the market. Carr was also in the city where he dreamed of playing as a kid Dallas. But according to his cousin and best friend, Terrance Robinson, after meeting with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, head coach Jason Garrett, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and a handful of the franchise's top players, uncertainty crept into Carr's mind. "Man, I don't know what's going on," Carr told Robinson over the phone. "They haven't spoken anything about money or contract or anything. "If it doesn't happen, I don't know where I'm going to go." Carr, who says he doesn't recall being nervous that night at the Omni Hotel near the Cowboys' Valley Ranch practice facility, wanted to be a Dallas Cowboy so bad that he wasn't concerned about the other teams that were interested. "For him, it was always the Dallas Cowboys," said Robinson, an assistant football coach at Northern Colorado. "It was always Dallas, Dallas, Dallas. He loved that star." He loved it from the time he was 6 years old and his parents bought him a Troy Aikman uniform complete with a plastic Cowboys helmet. And he loved it when he pulled up to the Kansas City airport on March 13 and saw Jones' private jet waiting to scoop him up. Carr's inaugural visit to Cowboys Stadium followed. It included Carr watching his highlights on the big screen and having dinner with Miles Austin, Sean Lee, DeMarcus Ware and Jason Witten. In Carr's words, the Cowboys, "laid out the red carpet and brought the house." The only thing left was the contract, which was finalized the following day. As Carr ate breakfast and hung out at Valley Ranch with Ryan and defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson, Jones and Carr's agent, Ben Dogra, hammered out the deal. A five-year contract worth 50.1 million was the result, making Carr one of the highest paid corners in the league. "When he got that done the next day, he cried," Robinson said. Carr's take: "That still hasn't really sunk in yet. But that's extra. My thing was to remain humble, work as hard as I can and whatever happened, happened." The working hard part of that answer is what makes Carr a good fit for what Garrett's doing with the roster. The Cowboys coach routinely preaches about acquiring players that want to go about the process in the right way. "He plays like he needs to prove himself each and every day," Garrett said in his first interview after the Carr signing. "We feel like he's played very well, but has a tremendous upside." The Cowboys likely did extensive research before courting the cornerback that turned 26 this month. And those studies would've found a high school player that was too slow and too small to get a Division I scholarship offer. Instead, Carr chose Division II Grand Valley State over D-II Wayne State. Not even his cousin, who played corner at Central Michigan, and his brother Tony, Who played corner at Western Michigan, could get Carr an offer from a mid-major school in the Mid-American Conference. "I figured he was at least a low-end Big Ten recruit," said Chuck Martin, Notre Dame's offensive coordinator and Carr's head coach at Grand Valley State. "I never dreamed we'd have a chance at him. Recruiting is an inexact science and a lot of people missed on him." Martin is obviously proud of Carr's success. And he admitted that he doesn't mind using Carr as an example on the recruiting trail. College football prospects enjoy hearing about how you coached a player without a D-I offer and helped turn him into a successful player on Sundays. Martin enjoyed Carr's production, which helped the Lakers win two D-II national championships, but the corner's low-key demeanor, willingness to listen and ability to outwork the competition are why Martin calls Carr "a perfect professional in any business." Similar praise was said about Carr by Herman Edwards, his first NFL head coach and the person most responsible for the Kansas City Chiefs selecting him in the fifth round of the 2008 draft. "He gets it. He's a true professional," Edwards recently said in a phone interview. "He took advantage of an opportunity, being a fifth-round pick, and now he's getting paid like a big time corner. I think in Dallas, if they play well defensively, people will see how good this guy really is." Despite intercepting eight passes during his first four NFL seasons and leading the AFC in pass deflections with 26 in 2010, Edwards says Carr's career is ahead of him. The former Jets and Chiefs head coach played in Philadelphia for nine seasons, so he knows about the type of stage Carr will be playing on in Big D. Edwards said the bright lights of playing for the Cowboys can negatively affect some players. In Carr's case, Edwards said that won't be a problem. And Carr agrees. Signing with his favorite team and being rewarded financially is something he says will work as his next motivator. Humble and hardworking are the ingredients that got him this far. He sees no reason to change the recipe or act differently. "I feel the same way as I felt before I got in this league," Carr said. "I act the same. I go home and I'm just plain old Brandon. I don't get a big head or make this bigger than it really is. "I may have signed this big contract but I'm still a human being. I'm still a son, a father, a brother, a cousin and an uncle." Follow Jon Machota on Twitter: @jonmachota
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