Linebacker entering sixth season in NFL

HAVELOCK | Bruce Carter has spent part of his offseason in Dallas training. The Havelock native has especially been working on his explosion and strength.

Carter, a 6-foot-2 linebacker, is approaching training camp with his new team and with a large chip on his shoulder.

“You definitely have to go in there with a chip on your shoulder,” Carter said. “I’m going to go in there and earn my position. It will be great to go in there and say that I earned my position.”

This offseason, Carter signed a one-year, $3 million contract with the New York Jets – his third NFL team in six seasons.

Carter, a former second-round draft pick who played his first four seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season, a year into his four-year deal.

He recorded 30 tackles, two sacks and two pass deflections.

“I think a lot of things went into it. It is what it is at the end of the day,” Carter said. “The NFL is a business and I’m going to keep moving forward. I’m not going to hold my head about nothing like that.

“The Lord has blessed me and I’m going to keep moving forward.”

Carter feels that he’s entering a good situation with the Jets who finished second in the AFC East a year ago and a defense that ranked fourth in the NFL.

The Jets open training camp on July 30 in Florham Park, NJ.

“The coaching staff, the players, everybody as far as their personality, I felt like it was a five-star program going into it,” Carter said. “I’m going into my sixth year, so I’ve been around for a little bit. I really felt this was the best team for what I do best.”

Carter will join a Jets’ defense that includes defensive linemen Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and Leonard Williams, along with linebackers David Harris and Darron Lee and defensive backs Derrelle Revis, Dee Milliner and Buster Skrine.

“This defensive line is the best I’ve played with since I’ve been in the league,” Carter said. “Any linebacker that plays behind a great defensive line, he has to be great.

“Those guys are going to demand double teams and that’s going to allow us to run around.”

Over his previous five seasons, Carter has 207 tackles, five sacks and five interceptions in 289 games.

“I’m going to go out there and get it. This is my sixth year so I have to go out there and prove myself. That’s what I’m going to go out there and do,” Carter said. “I’m going to bring athleticism, a guy with great experience and I am hungry. I want to come in there and compete and give it my all.”

Carter’s best game last season was his final one for Tampa Bay as he tallied 12 tackles and a sack in the regular-season finale against the Carolina Panthers.

He moves to the AFC East where he is in the same division as the dominant New England Patriots.

Carter also gets to play his former college teammate from North Carolina, Kevin Reddick, who is with the Buffalo Bills, twice this season.

The two have been training together in Dallas.

“As long as you stay motivated and continue to work on your craft and you have to come in and compete every year, then I think you can go as far as you want to go,” Carter said.

“My goal is to make it to 10 years and anything after that will be a bonus.”

Adam Thompson is the sports editor at the Sun Journal. He can be contacted at 252-635-5669. Follow Adam on Twitter @A_ThompsonNBSJ