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Tuesday, August 24, 2004
Updated: August 25, 3:10 AM ET
Carter expected to back up Pennington

Associated Press

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- The New York Jets have a much higher opinion of Quincy Carter than the Dallas Cowboys did.

Quincy Carter

After Carter's first workout with the Jets, offensive coordinator Paul Hackett was mentioning the backup quarterback in the same breath as some very impressive NFL players.

Asked if Carter, who was signed Tuesday to a one-year contract, would have trouble fitting into the West Coast offense New York uses, Hackett said:

"Does Michael Vick fit in? They're doing that (in Atlanta).

"How about Brett Favre when he first went to Green Bay?

"I think this guy is a magnificent fit. I said it when he came out of college in Georgia. I looked at him extensively. ... We brought him in here, we interviewed him, we did everything that we could, and our feeling was that his mobility and his ability to move, I likened him to Steve Young in my opinion."

Vick? Favre? Young?

Carter's resume doesn't quite measure up to superstar level yet. But he comes off leading the Cowboys to 10 wins and a playoff berth in Bill Parcells' first year in Dallas. And he comes off a three-week layoff after the Cowboys stunningly released him.

Carter was cut Aug. 4 amid reports he failed a drug test and the NFL Players Association has filed a request for arbitration in the case. Gene Upshaw, the union's executive director, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the NFLPA will continue to press the case.

"We have to," he said, adding that part of the grievance involves potential salary loss to Carter.

"You'll have to ask Dallas why they released me," Carter said. "All I got was the papers."

He now has a new start with the Jets, who were not comfortable with a pair of inexperienced backups to Chad Pennington: second-year pro Brooks Bollinger and CFL refugee Ricky Ray.

"Anything in the past, we got to move forward from here," said Carter, entering his fourth NFL season. "Definitely it's a different position for me. I'm a competitor. At this point I understand what situation I'm in. All I want to do is help this football team win football games the best way I can."

For now, that means Carter must learn a complex system, although the Jets will go slowly with his education. He threw only a handful of passes in a lengthy practice Tuesday, often standing near the offensive huddle while listening to Pennington or the other quarterbacks call plays.

He also spent time listening to Hackett as he instructed all the other QBs.

"Now, the last thing we're going to do is have him swallow the whole banana here," Hackett said. "We've been working for four years for this offense. When you get someone of his stature, you want to tailor things to him and we want to put him in the things in our offense that are going to best fit him. That will be the main focus of the next two or three or four weeks until we get a handle on it."

Carter, a second-round draft choice in 2001, started all 31 games in which he played for Dallas, including 17 last season. In his career, he has 507 completions in 902 attempts for 5,839 yards with 29 touchdowns and 36 interceptions.

Known for his mobility, he has run 140 times for 498 yards.

He isn't likely to play Friday night against the Giants, but probably will see extensive action Sept. 3 in the preseason finale against Philadelphia.

"I'm looking forward to being a Jet and also helping this football team winning games however I can," Carter said. "I'm just so excited to have a job right now."