- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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Veteran defensive end Andre Carter, who is an unrestricted free agent after a solid 2011 season with the Patriots, was a guest on Sirius XM NFL Radio's "Movin' the Chains" program on Wednesday.
Carter was interviewed by hosts Tim Ryan and Keith Bulluck, and here is part of the Q&A (underlining the points that stood out most):
How is your health?
“Good. Healing fast, man. Just working with my physical therapist, they’re always amazed, every day I come in here, I always surprise them with something different. Just that muscle memory. It’s been pretty big ever since I played this game.”
Are you ready to go, or is this a deal where you’re going to get into the season and monitor your health before you can continue to play?
“I think that will be their call. My goal has always been just be ready, be camp ready, and constantly just stay in shape, which I’ve been doing. I can come off the ball well. I’m running better and better each and every day. Cutting has always been a level progression. Whoever picks me up, that will be their call. But at least I’ll come in shape and say ‘This is where I’m at, and let’s get something going on, let’s get a deal going so I can continue to play and enjoy doing what I love doing.’”
Do you think you can get back to where you were last season?
“That’s the plan. Every year, I always have a little goal in the mindset. I’ve just been a man of faith and I’m constantly staying on the grind, studying my skills and just learning more about the game and how I can constantly get better. Like I tell everybody, it’s God’s will. One thing, I take pride in just enjoying Sundays. When I played with Kevin Faulk with the Patriots, especially when you become a vested vet like myself, you live for Sundays, man.”
On playing again:
“Time flies, especially in this business. You wish you could just play forever, but it’s just not a reality. For me, I just want to definitely get the opportunity to hopefully go to the show, because unfortunately I missed it with this injury. It was such a blessed year, to just go out there, play hard, and contribute, and [have them] embrace me. It was a great time, so hopefully I can get a chance at it again.”
On his 2011 season with the Patriots:
“It was great. I told [Bill] Belichick as well as the rest of the organization that I was very thankful for the opportunity to be considered, [when they were] looking at me. … Working with [Vince] Wilfork, Shaun Ellis there, and the rest of the young bucks, it was a great front four, as well as a great seven-man [front]. I think I learned more about football than I had throughout my whole 11 years. I think one thing the Patriots organization has done so well is they just study their butts off. Playing this game, I really thought I studied. But man, we’re in the books, constantly hard, we constantly push each other to take our game to the next level. We just try to find a way to get an edge and that’s something the Patriots have done so well. You understand why they’ve been so successful, and it was just great to be part of that.”
Do you envision the Patriots as a 4-3 or 3-4 defense this season?
“There is no telling. I think it’s always going to the coach’s call. As you know, coming into training camp, everybody always has a big old fat playbook. Not only the Patriots, but every defensive team, they’re going to try to find and nitpick what they do well and can improve. I think either way, whether it’s a 4-3 or the 3-4, they’re going to be well. I didn’t realize how big [Dont’a] Hightower was. That boy is a beast. He is big and solid and he can run like the wind, especially for a man his size (6-2, 270). I think for him, on the back end, he can do it all – whether it’s a 3-4 or 4-3, I’ll be interested to see what he does.”
Patriots still on the radar for you?
“We’ll see. Everybody always asks me, and I say ‘hopefully it’s still there.’ Until then, the passion is still there for me to play, and constantly get better, and hopefully somebody has the opportunity to pick me up. I put it in God’s will. I’m feeling better. I’m feeling good. It was definitely a constant grind, this particular rehab, but I’ll tell you what, it was a great offseason, despite the fact that I was limited. I learned a lot about the human anatomy. This injury, just to be on that bed rest, then have the brace on for a long time, then it’s ‘what’s the next step?’ – learning how to walk normal, because I had walked with a hitch...”