Note: Recently, LLT was granted the opportunity to conduct a phone interview with Chris Carter, the Steelers' 2011 5th round draft pick! The following is a transcript of their interview. Steelers Universe would like to extend our gratitude to Chris for so generously taking the time to sit down with us, and Justin J. Giangrande of Priority Sports for coordinating our interview with Chris!© 2011 Steelers Universe
SU: This is Perry Biggerstaff with SteelersUniverse.com and we are talking with Chris Carter, defensive end from Fresno State and Steelers' 5th round pick. Chris, How are you doing today?
Chris: Iím doing great, How about yourself?
SU: I'm doing real good. On behalf of www.SteelersUniverse.com, I want to thank you so much for the opportunity to talk with you and for you coming online with us.
Chris: Thanks for having me.
SU: Chris, lets get to some of the questions that our membership may be interested in getting answers to. In regards to the draft, go through the moment you were drafted by the Steelers. What were the emotions?
Chris: Oh, I was extremely excited. As far as the emotions, it was most definitely the proudest moment of my life. It's one of the greatest achievements that I have been able to accomplish so far in my life, as far as making my dreams come true and making it into the NFL or at least get my foot in the door. I do recognize that I have a lot of work to do in order to be great and be at the level that I want to be at, you know, to be the type of player that I want to be. But I am so excited about it. I couldnít be happier. Not to mention that my brother got drafted about 10 minutes after I did, so that just made the moment even sweeter.
SU: Were you together at that moment?
Chris: Yeah, we were.
SU: Did you have any idea just prior to that moment that the Steelers were thinking about drafting you?
Chris: Honestly, no I didnít. I didnít really meet with the team. I did meet with the position coach at the combine. It was just a short meeting, and I had way bigger meetings and visits with other teams and had workouts so I was assuming that it would be one of those teams that would be the one that would select me. But the Steelers selected me and honestly, I couldnít be in a better situation. I have great veterans to learn from and pick their brain, and a wonderful coach with an incredible resume to learn from. Thatís something that makes me eager to get in there. Iím excited about the opportunity.
SU: Who was the one that actually called you? Who was on the phone?
Chris: Coach Butler was the first one on the phone, and then it was Coach LeBeau.
SU: Oh, excellent! So you had the chance to talk to both of them?
SU: I have to tell you, Chris, I love your combination of speed and strength. But what do you think is your best attribute?
Chris: Most definitely my speed. The fact that I am able to beat a lot of people off the line. I have moves to go with it. Itís just, a lot of times, if you have enough speed you donít necessarily have to come with a lot of moves. I have been doing a lot of drops and working out with Willie McGinnis at the Athletes Performance Institute, which is a great place and it's definitely been getting me prepared in the transition that I am going to have to make. When I talked to the Steelers coaches, they said they are going to want me rushing the passer with my hand down and standing up, and they are going to want me dropping into coverage so I have been working on my versatility in all those areas.
SU: Chris, you bring up a great point. You didnít really operate out of a two point stance in college; tell us what is involved in the transition from defensive end to outside linebacker in the 3-4.
Chris: Well, actually I did play outside linebacker my sophomore year, but then I had to go back to defensive end because we lost a defensive end to graduation. As far as the transition, I surrounded myself with outside linebackers and everything I do in training is about linebacker technique. You have to loosen your hips up a lot more and you have to play with loose hips at that level. You want to play with good technique and be in the right position. On this level, technique is everything. If you want to be successful you have to have technique, speed, and passion. Your combination of those three can make or break a career. So thatís one of the things that I have been really training on, my technique. Just being really smooth and fluid in my movements.
SU: Well, you are going to have a wonderful opportunity. You will be learning under Dick Lebeau but you will also be learning behind players like Harrison and Woodley. Have either of them reached out to you yet?
Chris: No, I havenít had the opportunity to talk with them yet. I know that a lot of the players are involved in their own businesses and their own stuff right now, but the first chance I get to talk with them I most definitely will.
SU: What does it mean to you to be able to play behind that caliber of player?
Chris: Oh man. Itís amazing. Just to be on the same team as those two guys and Troy Polamalu who is the guy that I picked my number from starting in high school. It's crazy that I get to play on the same team as the player that I idolized.
SU: The lockout has been a burden for everyone involved. Do you feel the lockout situation will hurt your chances to make the team?
Chris: Not at all. I mean, with the type of person that I am, I am a hard worker....a very hard worker. I see this as just an opportunity for me to get better so that Pittsburgh will be getting more than they bargained for. It gives me an opportunity to be 100% prepared by the time I get there.
SU: Tell us something about Chris Carter that the Steelers nation doesnít know yet.
Chris: Well, like I was saying, I am very close to my brother. I am not sure if everyone knows that he got drafted as well.
SU: Go ahead and give him a plug. Tell us who your brother is.
Chris: My brother is David Carter from UCLA.
SU: Who did he get drafted by?
Chris: By the Arizona Cardinals. I mean, my life is pretty much about me and him. We hang out and we work out just about everyday. I also do some coaching on the side for high school kids. Just show them stuff and they come out and work out with us. Iím more than willing to show them some techniques and anything else that I have learned throughout the years that have helped me succeed. Thatís pretty much the big thing that we are involved in.
SU: I can tell by the way that you talk about your brother that you have a lot of respect for him. Who would you say is the biggest influence in your life?
Chris: My parents were major influences to my brother and I. My brother; thatís my best friend, my best friend ever. My parents definitely did a great job raising us to be like minded and we are very hard workers. It all started with the discipline and the structure that they set up. We even went to boot camp while we were in high school. Not because we were bad but rather to reinforce the discipline and structure they had set up. I have been able to carry that into a lot of areas of my life and into football, work, school, everything. It's definitely something that I am appreciative of and very grateful for.
SU: Chris, What role on the team do you foresee for yourself the first year? Are you willing to play special teams?
Chris: Iím willing to do anything that is required of me as far as special teams. Obviously they have some dominating players on defense and I am coming in to play behind them. I never come into an organization not thinking that I have to work for a starting spot. Iím not planning on starting right away but I plan on coming in to work like I want to be a starter. I mean, you never know what could happen. Someone could go down and I need to be prepared. So I know that if I train like a starter I will be prepared but at the same time I respect those above me on the roster. I just have to go out there and do my thing during practice so that for special teams, defense, whatever they require of me I can go out there and give them 100%.
SU: Chris that is a great attitude. I have one more question for you. I know you love those QB sacks; What NFL QB are you looking forward to crushing?
Chris: Oooooooo! Man! Brett Favre is probably gone now....
Chris: (laughing) Yeah, maybe. Weíll see. We go through this every year. Yeah, I donít know. It would be pretty exciting to sack Michael Vick. I would definitely have to get a picture of that if I did it.
SU: Well, Chris, we do appreciate you taking the time to be with us. We are so pleased to have such an intelligent and hard working young man represent the Steelers nation. And I do appreciate you coming on with Steelers Universe.
Chris: Thank you, sir. I appreciate it and thank you for your time.