"Jeez,” he said as cameras pointed towards him and recorded.
The inside linebacker hadn’t been in an interview setting for more than six months since before a shoulder injury that required surgery ended up putting him on the shelf last season.
Carter’s answers were short for the first several minutes Thursday, but he let down his guard when asked if his teammates encouraged him when he shed his non-contact jersey for the first time on Tuesday.
“Nah, I tell them to treat me like I’m a regular person,” Carter said. “Don’t hold back. No, they weren’t going easy on me.”
Carter said he’s just trying to get “in rhythm” after being sidelined for an injury that he said happened in the preseason. He played just one game in week two against Vanderbilt, making two tackles.
Not the kind of third season at Georgia that the South Gwinnett product envisioned after making 28 tackles in 2014. After all, he was expected to be one of the players to step up after Ramik Wilson and Amarlo Herrera departed.
Instead it was UAB transfer Jake Ganus and Tim Kimbrough that did and freshman Natrez Patrick showed promise.
“The shoulder injury happened,” Carter said. “I just had to move on.”
His teammates are happy to have him on the practice field with them again.
“Man, it’s like I’m just watching a brother out there doing something we all know he can do,” outside linebacker Davin Bellamy said. “It’s really good to have him back.”
Coach Kirby Smart on Tuesday brought up Carter’s name when talking about players that had impressed him.
“I’ve been pleased with Reggie,” Smart said. “He doesn’t seem to have any instability in the shoulder. He’s not holding back. He’s not tentative for a guy that went through that shoulder surgery. I think he’s six months post-op now.”
Smart listed inside linebacker first when going over positions that are the biggest question marks entering the spring.
The Bulldogs lost leading tackler Ganus. Sophomore Roquan Smith is practicing in a non-contact jersey after wrist surgery.
“It’s not a position of great depth anyway,” Smart said of a group coached by former Alabama staffer Glenn Schumann.
Carter said he put on “a little” weight when he was sidelined but now is “trying to get back in the groove and trying to run with the guys out there.”
When running back Sony Michel walked by and saw the reporters, Carter offered: “There goes Sony. Y’all can leave me now.”
After Michel took another seat, he said of Carter: “He’s been taking shots at me lately. We’ve been physical and competing against each other. It’s been great. I think he’s happy to be back on the field. You can kind of see it.”
Carter has two more college seasons to play since he could take last year as a redshirt season.
“I’m just ready,” he said, “to get back on the field.”