Better Late Than Never for Carpenter

Rudy Carpenter wasn't surprised that the Dallas Cowboys signed him to a contract, it is just that the former ASU quarterback expected to join the Silver and Blue as a drafted rookie rather than a free agent. Nonetheless, Carpenter is excited for his opportunity at the next level.

"I'm just happy to go somewhere where I have a chance to keep on playing," Carpenter said. "To be honest I thought there was a chance that the Dallas Cowboys were going to draft me in the fourth round and they ended up drafting Stephen McGee from Texas A&M.

"I knew that if I wasn't going to get drafted there, that I was going to sign a free agent contract with them. So I wasn't surprised when that happened, because they called me in the fifth or sixth round and said that even though they didn't draft me they still wanted to sign me as a free agent."

Carpenter noted that the Indianapolis Colts, Pittsburgh Steelers, New Orleans Saints and Jacksonville Jaguars all indicated to him that there was a chance that they were going to draft him in the later rounds of the second day.

"But really the Cowboys showed the most interest in me in the NFL combine and after the combine," Carpenter said, "and I spent a lot of time with them. I figured there was a good chance I was going to end up there."

Granted, Carpenter was going to be elated no matter which NFL team picked him up, yet he admitted that getting selected by such a recognizable franchise such as the Cowboys does carry extra meaning.

"They're opening a new stadium so there's a lot of excitement there," Carpenter stated. "They have a well known quarterback in Tony Romo, and a very good backup they just signed in Jon Kitna, they're bringing me and McGee in and I just hope I can compete and earn a roster spot.

"Obviously getting drafted is a pride thing, but quarterback is a hard position to get drafted at. As you can tell, there were a lot of well known quarterbacks that didn't get drafted. But as a free agent I still get an opportunity and that's all I can ask for."

Throughout the draft process Carpenter got the sense from his suitors that he would have been better served to enter the draft after his junior year where set career high in passing yards (3,202) and touchdown passes (25), and there is certainly a feeling of frustration over that matter. A rough year personally and team wise naturally didn't help his NFL stock.

"Teams also felt that even though we had a bad year," said carpenter, "that if I didn't have knee surgery my senior year and hurt my ankle during the season, that I would have a much higher draftable grade.

"But it is what it is and I guess everything happens for a reason. Again, I'm just happy that I have an opportunity right now to play in the NFL and keep my career going."

Carpenter begins the journey in the professional ranks this weekend when he will report to the Cowboys' mini-camp.

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