Hey Mr. Carter

Safety Tyrone Carter has been a starter in the NFL for the Minnesota Vikings and New York Jets. And right now, he's the starting free safety for the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers. We spoke with Carter this week about his current position with the team, the legal problems his brother faced after the Super Bowl and a number of other topics:

SCI: Has everybody kind of forgot about you. They say, "Oh, the Steelers lost Chris Hope. They signed Ryan Clark. They drafted Anthony Smith." But you're the starter right now. Does that stuff bother you?

TC: I don't too much worry about the outside stuff. They know what I can do. I know what I can do. I'm just letting my athleticism and talent take control. I can't lose focus of what I need to do to help this team. That's what I do. Whatever they want me to do, that's what I'm going to do. If it's a backup, then that's what I'll do. If it's a starter, that's what I'll do.

SCI: You've been a starter in this league before, it's not like you're somebody who hasn't done this.

TC: No doubt. That's where the veteran comes in. I've been around, I know what to expect. That helps me out a lot. They bring a guy in, you might get flustered, like, "Dang, they don't see me here." But I don't worry about that. I'm here to help him. Whoever is going to be out there, we're going to help each other. That's what brings me so close with this team. The camaraderie that we have, we're not selfish, we're there to help each other, no matter what it is. When Ryan Clark came in, we were like best friends right away. We became tight. We help each other out. What it's going to do is help him and help me. At some point in time, they're going to need all of us out there. That's the approach I take.

SCI: You joined this team late two years ago, at midseason. Were you kind of surprised you were able to meld in so well? You came in as an outsider, but you were accepted immediately.

TC: That shows the leadership on this team from the head down. They have a closeness. When I came in here, the guys were so close-knit, they welcomed me in with open arms. They didn't have any cliques. They brought me in and we did stuff together. They'd call and say that they were doing something and invite me. We'd hang out and have barbecues. I was like, "Dang, I like this." It was great. It's just great to be around guys like that.

SCI: You've been around the league a little, is it like that with other teams?

TC: I've been around the three different teams. I was with Minnesota when Denny Green was there. We had a close-knit team, but there were still little cliques. The Jets were great, but we still had little cliques. It was never like here with the offense and the defense, everybody together. It's like a blessing to be a part of this team. It's made my stay here better. It makes me want to be here and learn from those guys. I don't want to go anywhere else. I don't think there will be anywhere else like this.

SCI: After the Super Bowl this year, there was an unfortunate incident with your brother. Was that a tough situation for you to go through?

TC: That's life. Everybody always talks about it, but that's my brother. Beyond the football, beyond anything that's happened in your life, you always have your siblings, your loved ones. When I was born, he was there. Nobody can take that away from me. Whatever I can do to help my brother, that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to be there for him and he's going to be there for me, that's how it is. That's a bond that we have. Unfortunately for him, he committed a crime, so he had to go to jail. While he's in there, I'm still going to be beside him. I'll visit him and be there for him.

SCI: What does it mean to you that he was willing to spend more time in jail to be with you at the Super Bowl?

TC: It shows a lot. He's willing to give up his freedom to be there for me. At Minnesota in college, he did the same thing. He left his family, he had a son at the time, to come and be with me in college because he knew I didn't know anybody there and I was struggling. He was there to make me comfortable so I could focus on getting an education and playing football and being special. It was something where it's just my mom and dad, my older sister and him. He was willing to do that so that I could be successful. That Super Bowl was kind of like our over the hill, we made it. We dreamed of being at the Super Bowl, we watched it a lot. It was an opportunity I didn't want to miss and he didn't want to miss being there with me at it. I can understand where he was coming from. At the same time, he broke the law, you'd better be ready for them to come for you.

Courtesy of the Observer-Reporter


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