Found September 20, 2012 on Fox Sports Southwest:
IRVING, Texas-- For many rookies, their first season in the NFL is all about getting adjusted to the rigors of day-to-day life in the league, whether it's work days that often start before 7 AM and end about 10 hours later, the fact that football is now a job or other aspects of life as a rookie, year one is all one big acclimation process for rookies. However, for second-year Cowboys linebacker Bruce Carter, a second-round pick of America's Team in the 2011 NFL Draft who suffered a serious knee injury as a senior at North Carolina, that acclimation process was a bit different. He continued recovering from that injury for much of his rookie season, at least until Oct. 29, 2011 when Dallas added him to its 53-man roster after the club cut running back Tashard Choice. All told, the ex-Tar Heel appeared in 10 games last season, seeing time at both middle linebacker and on special teams and finished the year with eight tackles. So far in 2012, he has already seen fairly extensive reps in each of Dallas' first two games and already has 15 tackles to his credit, something he credits to being healthy and fully knowing the ins and outs of Cowboy defensive coordinator Rob Ryan's system. "It definitely feels good, especially from where I was at this time last year. I didn't know much. I wasn't playing. I didn't feel like I was in the loop you could say but this year's totally different," Carter said. "Things are going good. I just want to keep working, getting better and never get complacent with where I'm at. I'm just trying to do my job and just try to help the team by doing whatever I've got to do to help them win." One big reason for his recent success is that since he no longer feels any pain in his knee or has to worry about it flaring up again, he is now able to focus on doing what he does best, making plays as part of what is a very talented Cowboy linebacking corps. "I'm at a point where I'm just playing football, just having fun. I don't really think about my knee at all. I'm good. I'm out here just playing," he said. Carter realizes how fortunate he is to be surrounded by so many talented fellow linebackers, guys like Dan Connor, Anthony Spencer and perennial All-Pro DeMarcus Ware. But there's one fellow member of the linebacking corps who has helped make his transition to being in the NFL as seamless as possible. "Sean Lee, I look up to him a lot-his motor and just how he plays. I don't want to be that missing part. I want everything to be flowing, everybody to be on the same level," he said. "I learned to start that motor, to always run to the ball and always do things right, never take a shortcut. Now it's paying off. We just want to continue to work and go forward." Lee admits he's been quite impressed with everything Carter has brought to the field since he was drafted last spring, whether it's been his strong work ethic or unending desire to do what it ever it takes to ensure he keeps improving every single day. "Bruce has done an unbelievable job. He's a guy who has come in this year with a high sense of urgency and from day one has worked extremely hard," Lee said. "You can see the fruits of his labor out there. He's gotten better all through OTAs, training camp and each game he's continuing to get better. It's a matter of time before he's a great player." When a player suffers a serious injury like Carter did as a senior at UNC and undergoes a fairly lengthy recovery process as he did last year as an NFL rookie, such an experience can often give that individual a nice, healthy dose of perspective, something this former Carolina standout admits definitely happened with him. "You don't want to take anything for granted because it can be taken from you in a flash," he said. "So you want to play every play as if it was your last you could say and just go out there, keep playing and help your team as much as you can." Carter also credits his big leap in year two of his NFL career to something as simple as having his first full off-season as a professional, which allowed him to focus on improving his conditioning and also on completely familiarizing himself with Ryan's defensive playbook. "It was my conditioning that I focused on, just getting my legs back underneath me and the other main thing was just learning the playbook in and out. I studied a lot," he said. "I got the total grasp of it. There might be a thing here or there that I can learn a lot better and be more familiar with but that will come. I just want to keep working."
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Dallas Cowboys Quotes: What’s the Deal with Martellus Bennett?

The year was 2008. The Cowboys had finished the previous season at 13-3 but lost the Giants in the playoffs. Nevertheless, many had the Cowboys pegged as a Super Bowl contender. The team needed a receiver, though, given that Terry Glenn had played his final game. The other receivers were a 29-year-old Patrick Crayton and a 35-year-old Terrell Owens. Miles Austin wouldn’t break...

Jenkins ready to play at any position in return

IRVING Mike Jenkins was on the field for eight defensive snaps Sunday in Seattle. It was the 2012 debut for the Cowboys cornerback who missed the season opener, recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. Jenkins also played on special teams, a role he's expected to continue having Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With starting safeties Barry Church and Gerald Sensabaugh...

Felix Jones will continue to return kickoffs

IRVING Jason Garrett said Wednesday that Felix Jones will continue to return kickoffs for the Cowboys. Despite Jones fumbling the opening kickoff last Sunday in Seattle and showcasing little ability to make defenders miss, the Cowboys coach defended his primary kick returner on Wednesday. "Felix has been such a good player for us," Garrett said. "He's coming...

Dallas Cowboys look to bounce back in tasty WK 3 matchup

The Dallas Cowboys floundered in Week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks leaving many fantasy owners disgruntled and even a bit confused. Dez Bryant and Jason Witten had shaky hands, the ground game was ineffective and Tony Romo wasn’t in sync all night long. Don’t worry, fantasy owners should expect a huge turnaround in Week 3 when Dallas takes on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers...

Cowboys looking to replace Felix Jones as their returner

With Felix Jones struggling to hold on to the football during the Cowboys’ loss on Sunday, head coach Jason Garrett made it clear that taking care of the football is very important. “Line 1 in returning the football in the NFL for me is ball security,” Garrett said. Garrett admits they’re always looking for other guys to step up and return kicks. “Well, we’re always looking...

John Shango is Really Upset with the Cowboys

This guy is really upset, I mean REALLY upset, at the Cowboys. After their 27-7 loss to the Seattle Seahawks last week, this guy felt the need to express his anger at the Cowboys via YouTube. I knew I was going to like this video by the 0:12 mark. A few updates from the Cowboys you guys need to be made aware of: The Cowboys took a big **** on their logo above this guy’s couch,...

Some Not-So-Positive Statistics

After their opening-game win over the Giants, the Cowboys could boast about some nice offensive and defensive statistics. One week and a poor showing later, and the Cowboys’  stats are not looking so gaudy. Dallas fell to #11 in total offense, averaging 364.5 over two games. In 2011, the Cowboys finished the season ranked #11 with an average of 375.5 yards per game. Those numbers...

Cowboys having to go long way to score this season

(Eds: Updates. With AP Photos.) Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys have had to go a long way to score their touchdowns this season. Their four touchdown drives have averaged 78 yards, including a 95-yarder for their only score in the last game. ''You have to do a lot of things right to go 80 yards, 60 yards, whatever,'' Romo said Thursday. ''When you have...

Seahawks' Tate fined for hit on Cowboys' Lee

IRVING People in both the Seattle and Dallas organizations have been informed that the vicious and illegal crackback block administered to Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee by Seahawks receiver Golden Tate will result in a 21,000 fine to Tate, sources say. In reviewing the play from Sunday's 27-7 Seahawks win, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said to the media, "I'm sure they will...

Dez Bryant Gets Fan Friendly

I’m available for parties too Juan… I’m ready for Dez Bryant to live up to the hype.  Yes, the guy is a freak of nature that should be unstoppable in the Cowboys passing game.  The problem is his lack of consistency and his Houdini act he pulls in games. Will this be the year he breaks out?  The jury is still out. More Gronk And Bibi Demaryius Thomas Is Fan Friendly

Cowboys' Cook steps into center's role

The heroics didn't need embellishing. When starting center Phil Costa suffered a back injury in the second quarter of the regular-season opener against the New York Giants, the Dallas Cowboys were forced into using a replacement whose arrival was so fresh he hadn't even snapped a dozen times to quarterback Tony Romo in practice. Despite those difficult circumstances, Ryan...

Carroll: Tate fined by NFL, will appeal

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee is ready to move on from the flattening block he took from Seattle receiver Golden Tate, who has apparently been fined by the NFL.

Consistency an issue for Cowboys

Each time they head to the practice field, Dallas Cowboys players pass motivational messages posted outside the locker room. One poster stresses three characteristics that head coach Jason Garrett wants to see from his squad: Passion, emotion and enthusiasm. Garrett should consider adding a fourth word to the list. Consistency. Dallas continues to display none heading into Sunday...
Cowboys News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.