Linebacker Lorenzo Carter
September 2, 2021
Q: (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator) Patrick Graham was out here earlier today talking to us, and he said he was going to get a little emotional even though he didn’t want to, when talking about your progress and the player he’s seen emerge this summer. Do you feel the growth that he said he has seen in you this summer?
A: Yeah, I think so. I think Coach Graham has done great job just trusting the players. He doesn’t try to play the game himself. He knows that the players are going to go out and do what we have to do to win games and he puts us in the position. I appreciate Coach Graham, everything he’s done, he teaches us the game, he teaches us more than just the X’s and O’s, he teaches us the whole thing and I’ve learned a lot under him.
Q: Can you describe the player you are right now compared to the player that was here last year pre-injury?
A: Just a faster player. Not in speed, like when they say the NFL is so much faster than college and different levels of football. It’s the anticipation, it’s the knowing what‘s going to happen next, just understanding the game plans and understanding what the opponents want to do to you.
Q: Do you have a chip on your shoulder at all after last season? Are you coming into this season saying, ‘Hey, I’m back here and I’m ready to go?’
A: Oh yeah, for sure. You’ve got to have that chip on your shoulder. It’s just understanding myself and the player that I am and just understanding what I have to do. It’s no expectations, nothing from the outside world, I don’t listen to the outside world. Me knowing myself, I know what standards I hold myself to. I’m looking forward to going out there and putting it on the field.
Q: I think (Defensive Lineman) Leonard (Williams) said when we were in Cleveland that the way the two of you have learned to play off one another has really helped both of your games. Have you felt that? How much have you picked from his game and played off of it?
A: Man, I missed getting the chance to play with Leo. We only got a few games together, the first year he was here, then last year I went down, but Leo is a great player. He’s an explosive player, a disruptive player, just having somebody like that next to you, Leo, (Defensive Lineman) Dex (Lawrence), all the interior guys. Just getting the chance to play with impactful players like that, all we can do is make each other better.
Q: Patrick Graham said he almost got emotional talking about your comeback. What does that mean to you about a coach that cares about you that much that he gets emotional talking about your comeback?
A: Yeah, that’s the thing, they let us know, it’s not just coaches and players, we’re co-workers. We’re all in this thing together. It’s a submarine, it’s us versus the world and as long as we know each other, we all got each other’s back. That just makes it a much easier work environment and just makes it better to want to go to war for each other.
Q: What don’t we know about your comeback? Were there days where it seemed too hard or on the verge of tears? What don’t we know since not seeing you play since December?
A: It was a long road, but of course there were days where I was down and days where I really just missed ball and wished I could just be out here with my guys. It’s just the nature of the beast. Unfortunately, injuries happen and it’s just about how you bounce back and how you keep moving forward. That was my main thing was just keep moving forward.
Q: Do you feel like you’re playing at a better level than you were even before the injury?
A: Like I said, it’s all just about moving forward and getting better every day. That was the main focus in rehab and that’s been the same focus I’ve had coming out here to practice. Getting the chance to play football again is just, you’ve got to keep getting better. If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse.
Q: So, you’re better?
A: (laughs) I would like to say I’m better than I was a few months ago.
Q: You were playing really well before you got hurt. Did you wonder if you’d get back to that point?
A: Yeah, coming off of injuries, it’s a lot (of) mental, it’s a lot of mental and physical. You have to get over that hump in your head where it’s like, ‘Can I do this? Can I trust myself to come out here and be the same type of player?’ I think that all comes back down to rehab, trusting the trainers, making sure that I trust them, listen to them. When they tell me I’m ready, I’m ready.
Q: People always say it’s a business. Did it matter to you that this is your contract year, so you don’t get a year to take it easy. You’ve got to prove that you need a free-agent contract next year. Does that matter at all?
A: I don’t think so. There was no, ‘I can have a year to come out here and be easy.’ Whether it’s a contract year, whether it’s rookie year, you don’t have that time. We don’t have that ease, it’s a business. Like you said, it’s a business, so if I come out here and think I have a year then, you see what happens.
Q: How have you carried the expectations that have been on you. Since you got here, everyone has said that you would be a huge pass rusher and last year looked like the year that it was going to happen and then you got hurt. How do you carry that type of pressure on your shoulders?
A: It’s all about managing expectations. Everybody and their mama are going to have expectations and say what you should be doing, what they think you should be doing. As long as you come out here and trust the coaches, put in that work every day, then it will line up in itself. Everything will fall in place and that’s what I’m doing. I’m trusting the process and enjoying the process while I’m at it.