NFL Insider: Ex-TCU standout excited to hit field in Cleveland

Posted Sunday, Sep. 09, 2012  comments  Print Reprints
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Tank Carder had unpacked in Buffalo. He was there, after all, for more than four months. But he never got comfortable.

The former TCU standout has been in Cleveland only a week and already is feeling more at home than he ever did with the Bills.

"It's kind of a blessing," Carder said in a phone interview last week. "I wasn't really rotating with the ones [first string] and the twos in Buffalo. Right when I come here, I go onto the special teams, and I've got a chance to rotate, at least play in the game. It's an amazing opportunity and great that it worked out this way."

Carder, a three-year starter who made 228 tackles, nine sacks and four interceptions, was a fifth-round pick of the Bills. His coverage skills impressed coaches early on. But he had only brief late-game appearances against Pittsburgh and Detroit in the preseason, and he was not a part of the team's top special teams units. So the Bills released him.

The Dolphins and the Browns put in waiver claims for him, with Cleveland getting dibs based on having a worse record last season.

"You kind of feel like a failure," Carder said. "Obviously, it's not over. You're always on display for other teams, and you hope to get an opportunity with another team. But at that point, I had never been rejected like that. It was a huge failure for me.

"The next morning, it was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders when the Browns called me and told me they were claiming me. It's kind of the reverse, feeling that you are worth something, when you get that call back. When you get cut, it's the worst feeling in the world."

Carder is one of 15 rookies on the Browns' roster. He is in the mix to help replace Scott Fujita at strongside linebacker. Fujita was reinstated by the appeals panel Friday but has a leg injury.

Carder also will play on special teams despite being in town only a few days.

"I can't wait," Carder said. "I have a chance to play in my first NFL regular-season game. I have butterflies."

Forsett back in Texas

Justin Forsett could have played more somewhere else, but Houston was the perfect fit. The former Arlington Grace Prep star is back in Texas on a team many pick to win the AFC title.

"It's a blessing for me to be back so close to family, so close to where I went to high school," Forsett said in a phone interview. "People can come see me. This organization is headed in the right direction. It's a winning team, a team that's on the rise, and I wanted to go somewhere where I had a chance for a championship. It's the spot for me. They reached out. They're the only team that committed. It was a no-brainer for me."

Forsett started seven games for the Seahawks the past three seasons, rushing for 1,287 yards and scoring seven rushing touchdowns while adding 730 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown.

He will back up Arian Foster and Ben Tate in Houston, with Foster a game-time decision this week because of knee soreness.

The Texans had expected Forsett to compete for the kick-return job too, but receiver Trindon Holliday had three return touchdowns in the preseason.

"I'm no stranger to a backfield loaded full of talent," Forsett said. "I'm just going to try to find my role and play to the best of my ability. ...I'll do whatever they ask."

Aikman talks Peyton

The Broncos have won only two playoff games since John Elway retired following the team's last championship season in 1998. But none of the 11 starting quarterbacks to follow Elway was named Peyton Manning.

Troy Aikman likes the Broncos, but he likes a lot of teams.

"Wherever Peyton went, that team was immediately going to become a Super Bowl contender," Aikman said on a Fox Sports conference call. "It didn't really much matter where he went, because his impact is so significant, and the expectations are certainly very high, with wherever it would be that he landed.

"Last year, the Broncos made it to the playoffs, immediately then you say, 'Gosh, this team made to the wild-card game last year. They win a game against the Steelers. They go on [to the division round], and then they get beat. Now, they've got Peyton Manning. Man, this team is immediately a Super Bowl contender.' I do think they're a contender with about a dozen other teams. But realistically this team probably was a five-win team last year. A lot of things, as we all know, happened late in the games -- unprecedented things happened last year -- that allowed them to finish 8-8 and go on and make the playoffs."

Manning picked the Broncos over the Cardinals and the Titans after the Colts moved on without him. Manning has had at least three neck surgeries the past two years, and he hasn't played since the 2010 season.

Aikman said Manning isn't the Manning who won four league MVP awards while becoming one of the league's best ever. But the Manning of 2012 can be good enough, Aikman said.

"I don't think Peyton is 100 percent," the ex-Cowboys quarterback said. "I don't know that he's ever going to be back to where he once was. But he's a 15-year veteran. He knows the game, and he knows what he'll have to compensate for whatever he's lacking -- arm strength or whatever decreases he's had in certain elements of his game. I think he's going to put together a great year."

Charean Williams, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @NFLCharean

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