By Clarence E. Hill Jr.
Irving _ After being demoted for one game for poor play and an unacceptable lack of effort, Cowboys linebacker Bruce Carter has regained his starting job in the regular defense and the nickel for Sunday's game against the Redskins.
According to a source, the Cowboys wanted to teach Carter a lesson for his lack of effort in a poor outing against the Chargers two weeks ago so they demoted him behind Ernie Sims in last Sunday's game against the Broncos.
Sims confirmed on Friday that Carter is back in the starting lineup at the weakside linebacker and in the nickel, though Sims will likely start at strongside linebacker for an injured Justin Durant against the Redskins.
Carter wouldn't confirm his role for Sunday's game, saying it was up to the coaches but he acknowledged that whatever message the Cowboys were trying to send to him with the benching last week came through loud and clear.
"I don't know what they were trying to do but they definitely motivated me," Carter said. "It definitely puts a chip on your shoulder. You got to go out there and prove to everybody you can play at a high level. You can't anything for granted. You have to go balls to the wall."
Carter denies that he was giving less than 100 percent but acknowledges that he was thinking too much as continues to adjust to the new defensive scheme which prevented him from playing fast, thus making it look like he wasn't given great effort.
He said he never wants anybody to question his effort.
"It definitely puts a chip on your shoulder," Carter said. "You got to go out there and prove to everybody you can play at a high level. You can't anything for granted. You have to go balls to the wall."
Carter's play and demotion was a lightning rod over the last week because of the high expectations the Cowboys had for him coming into the season. The former 2011 second round pick was expected to dominant force at weakside linebacker in the 4-3 under new coordinator Monte Kiffin, drawing comparisons to former Tampa Bay star Derrick Brooks.
The transition has been much slower than expected but Carter said he will continue to work hard and give his best.
Carter said it all has been an eye-opening experience for him as he has never been in the situation before. He called it a big learning experience and will never take his position for granted.
"Never. Never ever," Carter said. "Never been benched. Never a back up. It's a learning lesson I can say that. I can't take my position for granted or playing for the Cowboys period."
Carter is second on the team with 38 tackles and has two sacks.