Tar Heels in NFL: Jets, Carter head to Denver to face his ‘dawg’ in the Broncos’ Williams

By R.L. Bynum

Javonte Williams and Michael Carter used to share carries for Carolina, but all they’ll share Sunday will be the field in Denver when Williams’ Denver Broncos face Michael Carter’s New York Jets.

The two talk frequently, even this week, after developing a friendship during their time playing together in Chapel Hill.

“I love him so much,” Carter said. “That’s my dawg. I called him last night. I talk to him probably every two days, just to check in. He checks in on me, just talking, laughing. It’s a weird experience because I’ve always been on his team, and I know what kind of player he is. He’s my opponent, but I don’t play defense. So, we’re just gonna try to get the win.”

In 11 games for the Tar Heels last season, Carter ran for 1,277 yards and nine touchdowns, and Williams for 1,158 yards and 19 touchdowns. They both had 25 catches, with Williams gaining 305 yards for three touchdowns and Carter collecting 267 yards and two touchdowns.

The Broncos snagged Williams in the second round as the 35th overall pick and the Jets picked Carter in the fourth round as the 107th overall selection.

At a press conference this week, a New York reporter asked how they got along so well at UNC even though they were competing for playing time.

“That’s more of a trap question,” Carter said. “To be honest, I just think it was going to work every day and just focusing on yourself because when you start focusing on other people, you lose yourself inside yourself. I just need to be worried about what I’ve got going on and help out the team.”

The Jets coaches have commented on how Carter’s energy is contagious and helping the team.

“That’s not something I really think about,” Carter said. “I think it’s just I enjoy playing the game. It’s my job. I don’t have to dress up and wear a collared shirt every day. I go put a dri-fit on and go to work. I’m saying that nothing’s wrong with collared shirts, though, I think they’re great.”

Their teams are off to contrasting starts with the Broncos 2–0 and the Jets 0–2, but both rookie running backs have had their flashy moment in the first two weeks of the season.

Williams has 109 yards on 27 carries, including a 16-yard run during last week’s 23–13 victory at Jacksonville, and Pro Football Focus gave him the highest offensive grade of any offensive rookie. Carter has 15 carries for 65 yards, and had a 13-yard run during last week’s 25–6 home loss to New England.

Here is a video of Williams highlights from last week.

Williams is the backup running back behind Melvin Gordon III. Carter is listed as the third-string running back behind Tevin Coleman and Ty Johnson.


“It’s just fun to be out there,” Carter said. “I feel like I’ve got a chance to have an impact every game and it’s just me being prepared for the weekend.”

One reporter commented to Carter that he looked electric out there at times.

“I think there’s more out there,” Carter said. “I think that the difference between good and great is so small and I feel like it doesn’t mean anything if you can’t do it again.”

The week for Tar Heels started Thursday when right tackle Charlie Heck played in the Houston Texans’ 24–9 home loss to the Carolina Panthers.

Heck missed Week 1 for the 1–2 Texans after a positive COVID-19 test. He returned for Houston’s 31–21 loss last week at Cleveland but played only one offensive snap and four special-teams snaps. Heck came off the bench to play Thursday, reporting as tackle-eligible for one play on his only offensive snap. He also played two special-teams snaps.

Safety Myles Dorn could be active for a second consecutive week for the 0–2 Minnesota Vikings after cornerback Harrison Hand was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list this week. Dorn was activated last Saturday and played 10 special-teams snaps in the Vikings’ 34–33 loss at Arizona.

The Vikings, who only had linebacker Chazz Surratt active for Week 1, play Seattle at home at 4:25 p.m. Sunday.

Giovani Bernard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back
at Los Angeles Rams, 4:25 p.m. Sunday, Fox (airs on WRAZ 50 in Triangle)
Season statistics — 2 games, 4 receptions, 28 yards (longest 10 yards)
Dyami Brown, Washington wide receiver
at Buffalo, 1 p.m. Sunday, Fox
Season statistics — 2 games, 4 receptions, 32 yards (longest 22 yards)
Michael Carter, New York Jets running back
at Denver, 4:05 p.m. Sunday, CBS
Season statistics — 2 games, 15 carries, 65 yards (longest 13 yards); 3 receptions, 43 yards (longest 17 yards)
Myles Dorn, Minnesota Vikings safety
vs. Seattle, 4:25 p.m. Sunday
Season statistics — 1 game, 10 special-teams snaps last week
Eric Ebron, Pittsburgh Steelers tight end
vs. Cincinnati, 1 p.m. Sunday, CBS (airs on WNCN 17 in Triangle)
Season statistics — 2 games, 1 reception, 19 yards
Charlie Heck, Houston Texans right tackle
24–9 Thursday loss vs. Carolina — Played as a reserve; reported tackle-eligible for one play, his only offensive snap; played 2 special-teams snaps
Season statistics — 1 game (missed 1 because of positive virus test)
Cole Holcomb, Washington outside linebacker
at Buffalo, 1 p.m. Sunday, Fox
Season statistics — 2 games, 10 tackles, 6 assists
Mack Hollins, Miami Dolphins wide receiver
at Las Vegas, 4:05 p.m. Sunday, CBS
Season statistics — 2 games, no statistics
James Hurst, New Orleans Saints left tackle
at New England, 1 p.m. Sunday, Fox (airs on WRAZ 50 in Triangle)
Season statistics — 2 games
Robert Quinn, Chicago Bears outside linebacker
at Cleveland, 1 p.m. Sunday, Fox
Season statistics — 2 games, 4 tackles, 1 assist, 2.5 sacks
Andre Smith, Buffalo Bills weakside linebacker
vs. Washington, 1 p.m. Sunday, Fox
Season statistics — Hasn’t been active for a game
M.J. Stewart Jr., Cleveland Browns strong safety
vs. Chicago, 1 p.m. Sunday, Fox
Season statistics — 2 games, 3 tackles, 2 assists
Chazz Surratt, Minnesota Vikings weakside linebacker
vs. Seattle, 4:25 p.m. Sunday
Season statistics — 1 game, no statistics; wasn’t active last week
Mitchell Trubisky, Buffalo Bills quarterback
vs. Washington, 1 p.m. Sunday, Fox
Season statistics — 1 game, 2 snaps, knelt on both for -2 yards rushing
Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos running back
vs. New York Jets, 4:05 p.m. Sunday, CBS
Season statistics — 2 games, 27 carries, 109 yards (longest 16 yards); 2 receptions, 6 yards (longest 10 yards)
Tar Heels on practice squads
Jake Bargas, Minnesota Vikings fullback
Dazz Newsome, Chicago Bears wide receiver
Antonio Williams, Buffalo Bills running back
Injured Tar Heels
Jalen Dalton, New Orleans Saints defensive tackle, suffered season-ending triceps injury
Ryan Switzer, Cleveland Browns wide receiver, had ankle surgery Aug. 20

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