Running back released by Jets, should fit right into offense Darren Urban
Michael Carter didn't know the vast majority of his new teammates and he didn't get to Arizona until about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday before getting up at 5 a.m. to start his first day as a Cardinal.
He got a welcoming hug from linebacker Victor Dimukeje - who played at Duke when Carter was at North Carolina - and sat for a chat with one of the team captains, linebacker Kyzir White.
"I am grateful to be here," Carter said. "To have a chance at a fresh start and feel appreciated. I think we all chase that and crave that."
The running back, claimed off waivers from the Jets this week, should be a welcome addition to the Cardinals' offense. He is effective in both the run and pass games, and he is under contract through 2024.
His release from the Jets seemed to surprise many of his teammates. Carter, perhaps not as much.
"There is a lot that went on behind the scenes that led me to not be surprised," Carter said. "Those are my brothers back in New York and they know that. What is understood doesn't need to be explained, and they got my number."
When asked if he had asked the Jets for his release, Carter declined to comment.
But Carter is anxious to play, acknowledging that Wednesday "was my first day not practicing --in my whole life, probably" while he waited to see what his new team would be.
Carter had played little in New York this season behind Breece Hall and Dalvin Cook, appearing in all nine Jets games with just eight carries for 38 yards and 15 receptions for another 68 yards. That was after 1,079 yards and seven rushing touchdowns over 30 games in his first two seasons.
"We felt like it wouldn't be fair for him to just sit there and rot on the bench," Jets coach Robert Saleh told New York reporters on Wednesday.
The Cardinals have James Conner as starting running back, and Emari Demercado has become RB2 in his rookie season. Demercado is coming back from a toe injury. Keaontay Ingram has struggled when getting playing time.
Grabbing Carter made sense, and the Cardinals wanted to make it look that way Thursday after practice.
"We're trying to build a great culture over here and we want everybody to feel welcome," White said. "Mike is new, so hopefully he's feeling comfortable. He's a great player and he's going to contribute."
Carter said he did have one offseason workout session alongside wide receiver Hollywood Brown. He said he got about 10 texts after the news broke to "hit up JC" because everyone he knows has good things to say about Conner.
But Carter also liked the vibe coming from coach Jonathan Gannon, who hopes Carter can be part of the Cardinals' rebirth. Gannon, Carter said, had a lot of energy. "A lot."
"That's something I can relate to," Carter said, "because I'm the same way."