By Teresa Varley
Safety Tyrone Carter was called into action on Monday night to start for Ryan Clark and not only did he fill in, he played a huge role in the Steelers 28-10 win over the Denver Broncos.
His efforts didn't go unnoticed as he was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance.
"It means a lot," said Carter of the honor. "It shows around the league they value your performance. It shows they saw what you did and credit your success to that. The accolades were good, but the main thing is we came away with a win."
Carter had two interceptions, including a second quarter pick off of quarterback Kyle Orton that he returned 48 yards for a touchdown, giving the Steelers a 7-3 lead in a defensive struggle.
"It was exciting as heck," said Carter of scoring the touchdown. "Playing on Monday Night Football, you grew up watching it and now I have been in the league for 10 years and all of your peers are watching, all of your family. You want to bring out your best I hadn't been playing much before that because Troy (Polamalu) was back. I was playing mainly special teams. It was good to get out there and make plays on defense and come away with a pick six. That was the icing on the cake."
Carter got the start at safety because Ryan Clark, who has the sickle cell trait, was held out of the game because playing in the high altitude triggered problems for him two years ago. Carter was hoping to carry his weight, but went beyond that, adding two tackles and two pass defenses to his numbers.
"As a player you want to make your presence known," said Carter. "You want to let your teammates know they can count on you. That is one of my goals, to be accountable. I always strive for whenever they call upon me to go out there and perform at a high level."
On Tuesday Carter was getting plenty of attention from the fans, as his name was the fourth most searched topic on Yahoo, amid national news topics and other major headlines.
"I didn't realize that," said Carter. "I only get on there to check my email. That speaks volumes. As a player you want to make your name mean something. When someone says your name, you want them to say that is somebody who can play. It shows the hard work pays off in the end."