The buzz around the Havelock High football stadium had little to do with the Rams’ dominating 41-7 victory over South Central.
Instead, family, friends, well-wishers and many others in the stadium had the chance to see and talk with an NFL football player, Bruce Carter.
The former Havelock High standout attended Friday’s football game as his pro team — the Dallas Cowboys — enjoyed a bye week.
"It feels good. I haven’t been here in a while. It’s like a homecoming," Carter said of his four-day visit home. "Seeing the whole football atmosphere at high school, it’s been great."
At the end of Friday’s game, Havelock coach Jim Bob Bryant introduced Carter to his players and thanked him for a $10,000 donation that went toward renovation of the school’s weight room.
Carter told the players to keep pushing each other and keep playing together as a team.
"They’re great," Carter said of the current 7-1 Rams. "They put up a lot of points and they play together, and their defense plays well. They look like a solid team."
Carter, at 6-foot-2 and 240 pounds, has started all four games for the Cowboys this year at linebacker. He’s made 22 tackles, which is second on the team.
He is in his second professional year, but spent most of last season recovering from a knee injury he sustained at the end of his senior season in 2010 playing for the North Carolina Tar Heels.
"Last year, I just did a lot of watching," Carter said. "This year is just the opposite. I’m active and I’m playing, so that feels great."
Despite the injury, the Cowboys thought enough of Carter to draft him in the second round, 40th overall, in the 2011 draft.
Now he’s part of a team that is 2-2 and in the middle of a tight race in the NFC East.
"Everybody’s kind of the same," Carter said. "It’s early in the season, so it’s kind of hard to say what’s going to happen. There’s a lot of great teams out there."
And Carter said he and his teammates are putting in the effort to be one of those great teams.
"We’re just working and taking it one day at a time," said Carter, whose Cowboys play at Baltimore on Sunday. "Trying to win games in the NFL, it’s hard, so we’re working hard."