With Sean Lee out with an ACL tear in his left knee, the Cowboys need Bruce Carter to live up to his potential more than ever.
Dallas used a second-round pick on Carter in 2011, and he became the weakside linebacker in the Tampa Two last year. The weakside linebacker is the same spot Derrick Brooks made famous in Tampa Bay and Lance Briggs played in Chicago.
Carter was benched at one point during a disappointing third NFL season, though he did finish third on the team with 122 tackles.
"I felt I didn’t have the best season that I wanted to have, obviously," Carter said. "But I mean, everybody has their ups and downs. I’m just going to go out here and just continue to work, put my head down and keep working."
To that end, Carter said he has worked hard this offseason.
"I’ve been here since the season ended," he said. "I’ve been working out. I spent less time at home. Just working out with our strength coaches, just being around the facility a lot, seeing the coaches and whatnot. I’m putting in that work. That’s all that really matters."
Carter said he will approach 2014 with a chip on his shoulder, hoping to prove the Cowboys right in their initial assessment of him out of North Carolina. With two years as a starter under his belt, Carter knows it is time to step up.
"I just want to be the best player I can be," Carter said. "I have a lot of potential to be great. I don’t want to leave anything in the tank. I want to sell out and give my all.
"...I definitely have a lot to prove to everybody, especially myself. I want to come out here and just get this thing moving in the right direction."
-- Charean Williams