Brandon Carr: Won't change, will elevate game

IRVING, Texas -- Asked how the media horde for a Valley Ranch OTA compared to his days in Kansas City, cornerback Brandon Carr cracked a smile.

“It’d probably be just you,” Carr said to the inquiring reporter, one of several surrounding the $50 million free agent’s locker and one of dozens who attended the voluntary workout.

The spotlight is something that Carr will have to get used to. He’s no longer a no-name playing for a small-market team. He’s a high-profile addition to America’s Team.

“I’m comfortable with it,” Carr said. “I’ll grow into it as it comes. Hopefully it will be a good spotlight, but that really doesn’t matter. When I’m out there playing, I’m not thinking about who’s looking at me or what they’re saying about me. I’m out there with my teammates and playing for them.”

As far as Carr is concerned, he’s still a grinder who was a fifth-round pick out of Grand Valley State. He won’t be a different dude after depositing a $10 million signing bonus.

“I’m going to continue to be the same person I’ve always been,” Carr said. “I don’t feel like I have to change. Of course, on the field, I have to elevate my game, take it to the next level. That was already going to happen. That was my goal before I even signed with the Cowboys.

“I’m going to be the same person, talk to you guys the same way. Stay boring, of course.”

Coach Jason Garrett refers to players with that kind of attitude as “the right kind of guy.” That’s not necessarily why the Cowboys paid Carr like a Pro Bowler. They paid “retail,” as Jerry Jones would say, because they graded Carr as the best available player at a position that was a desperate need in Dallas.

The hope is that Carr can have the kind of impact with the Cowboys that Johnathan Joseph did in Houston last season. Joseph signed a similar deal last summer and made his first Pro Bowl while starring for a drastically improved Texans defense.

Carr's talent makes him a good fit for the Dallas defense. His approach makes him a good fit in a locker room that has long had too strong a sense of entitlement.

“I’m really impressed with him and really impressed with him right from the start when he got here for the offseason program,” Garrett said. “Very serious-minded kid, doesn’t talk a lot, just goes to work. He wants to get better.”

Carr has to get better to live up to the high standards that come with the spotlight and his salary. It's a challenge he embraces.