IRVING, Texas --Rookie linebacker Bruce Carter got his first taste in the NFL on Sunday night, recording an open-field special teams tackle in his pro debut.
Carter knows he might have to be ready on defense, too, if starting linebacker Sean Lee is out or limited with a wrist injury this Sunday against the Seahawks.
"I'm still learning, but that's only because I'm just now coming back," said Carter, the team's second-round pick who only began practicing two weeks ago coming off December 2010 surgery for a torn ACL in college. "But Sean's a tremendous part of our team. I'm going to have to learn as much as I can from him.
"(I'm) just getting comfortable and getting a sense for everything, being able to line someone else up and going from there."
The Cowboys haven't ruled out Lee, but he wasn't sure about his availability when asked late Monday afternoon. Carter would be the lone backup inside linebacker if Keith Brooking and Bradie James started for an injured Lee. He got a few defensive reps last week on the weak side but practiced primarily on special teams.
The Cowboys also have rookie inside linebacker Orie Lemon on the practice squad, but Carter would be next in line for depth if needed.
"I think the biggest thing is to get Bruce Carter more involved on defense," head coach Jason Garrett said. "He contributed on special teams and had a little package of defensive plays that we wanted to use him on last night. But he's the natural one to get more snaps."