6Magazine + Brandon Carr ConversationDecember 30, 2012
From a small school in college at Grand Valley State to being a fifth round draft pick of the Kansas City Chiefs to having a big pay day in free agency this past off season, Brandon Carr has always been focused. We caught up with Brandon Carr and talked about his game changing interception of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the loss of his former teammate Jovan Belcher and about Cowboys’ “win and get in” matchup with the Washington Redskins this weekend.
6Magazine: Talk about you’re teams play in recent weeks. you weren’t there last year…but the team has showed heart that critics have said wasn’t there in year’s past? Where is all the mental toughness coming from?
Carr: I can’t speak for the past, but just from being here since March, we had a great work ethic and dedication going into the season. Right now, we still have guys going hard and giving it their all. We hit a rough patch like most teams do, and the good teams find a way to respond to that and get back on track. We didn’t know how long the tough times would last, but our character has showed. We’ve stayed focus and worked hard like a family which is what we stand for as an organization.
6Magazine: Talk about your interception last week? What did you see?
Carr: I’ve was with Coach Haley(Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator) for a few years in Kanas City. I was going up against his offense everyday in practice. When you do that, you learn how a person thinks. I kind of used that against him. Coach Haley knows my strengths and weaknesses and had been picking on me the entire game. I kind of felt like he’d come my way again in OT. We were in cover 3, so that allowed me to drop back and keep my eyes on the quarterback. I believed what I saw when the wide receiver dropped his hips and the quarterback started to pull the trigger. It proved to be the play of the game.
6Magazine: Were you mad you didn’t get in end zone?
Carr: (Laughs) I was kind of mad. I knew folk would give me a hard time. I did what I was supposed to do, get the ball back and put us in a position to score. I was kind of mad at myself for not scoring, but at the same time the play was enough to help us get the win.
6Magazine: What are you guys going to do to stop RGIII this week?
Carr: The last game we got in trouble trying to think too much and got away from our game plan. We are going to do what we do best and play fast and on the fly out there. We aren’t sure how mobile he’s going to be, but all we care about is if he’s playing. As far as the secondary it’s all about matchups and winning our one on one battles. The stakes are high right now, so we have to come out and play with a sense of urgency.
6Magazine: What’s the difference between stopping Eli Manning vs. RGIII?
Carr: The mobile QB is the new wave coming into the league. They have an advantage with their legs because they can extend plays. It’s easier to play a pocket passer because you want to force them out of the pocket. With a mobile guy, you want to keep them in the pocket because if they get out they can extend plays and hurt you.
6Magazine:What made you choose the Cowboys in free agency this past off season?
Carr: I didn’t know where I was going to go at first. Once I heard my name and Dallas in the same conversation I was immediately intrigued. I grew up idolizing the Cowboys. My first jersey was a Cowboys jersey and I’ve always wanted to rep the star on the side of my helmet. After I heard they were interested and I took my visit to the facility, I felt at home and it just felt right. My free agency was over before it ever really got started.
6Magazine: Talk about the transition from a small college at Grand Valley State to the NFL.
Carr: It was a culture shock. The transition from college to the NFL is enough, but from a small school to the NFL was huge. It’s just different out there on the field. I knew I had the speed to compete at this level. What was different was the precision and arm strength of the QBs. They dissected defenses well and got the ball out quickly. The running backs too were all better as well. But as far as WRs, I knew I had the speed and ability to compete.
6Magazine: The Jovan Belcher incident was tragic. As a former teammate of his, were you two close and how did you handle it?
Carr: He was my teammate for three years. We didn’t talk a lot but as teammates we did speak. The incident affected my play for a lot of weeks actually. It seems like each week this season something different has come up. I felt like it was just God testing me. Life is about that and to see how faithful you are. It took a lot to deal with it and it was extremely hard playing that week. I kind of didn’t want to play, but I had to be out there for my teammates. It was my first time having to play through something that tragic. It was draining for about two weeks, I wasn’t eating or sleeping really.
6Magazine: What is it like going up against Dez Bryant everyday?
Carr: From day one I told him, this year is about us two getting better on the field. I told him we are going to fight. It’s been a dog fight since I got here. For the last six weeks, this is the Dez Bryant I know, just abusing defenders. He’s an explosive wide receiver. What you see is what you get, when he scores touchdowns he throws up the “X” and that’s what he is, our “X” factor.
6Magazine: What makes Dez different?
Carr: Every wide receiver has athleticism. Calvin Johnson is a beast. With Dez, he has that determination in him. He doesn’t know how to stop or quit. Even in practice he’s been catching balls like there’s nothing wrong with his finger. Most wide receivers would take practice time off and rest their hands, but not with Dez he’s out there working hard getting better to help this team.
6Magazine: For the younger people aspiring to make it to the league reading this, what’s the extra thing you did to get to this level?
Carr: I made sacrifices. I disciplined myself and my body in high school and in college. I rested my body and tried not to party too much. If you’re determined enough, good things will come. Eating healthy instead of eating a cheeseburger just once isn’t going to be enough. It has to be consistent. Kids come across a lot of distractions, but you have to find it in yourself that if you really want it bad enough, it’s going to take great sacrifices. Growing up, it was about seven of us who would run hills and do one on one drills on Friday and Saturday nights to perfect our craft. Five of us ended up playing ball in college.
6Magazine: The floor is yours. Anything about Brandon Carr we don’t know?
I just launched my foundation, Carr Cares foundation. It’s a fitness initiative for the youth. It’s a way for me to give back to the communities I’ve been apart of — Flint, Grand Rapids, and now Dallas. I just want to shine a positive light on kids’ life and show them that there is a way to get out. I feel like my calling is higher than just football. I want to help the community and be a positive reinforcement.