Dominique Robinson, Braxton Jones, and Ja’Tyre Carter met with the media ahead of practice on Saturday, May 7th during rookie minicamp. There was a particularly poignant moment when Carter described the spiritual presence of his older brother, who was killed in a car accident.
Several reporters asked about this significant part of Cater’s life. Here’s how it went.
Who was the most influential person in your journey?
Carter: I would say my late brother Orthello. He had died when I was in high school and I just take him everywhere I go and he just helps me keep going.
How did he die?
You take your brother everywhere. Do you have something like a tattoo?
He’s just in my heart everywhere I go. He’s right there. He’s got a special place.
How old were you when it happened?
I was like 16, 17. So that was like in my senior year of high school.
How old was he?
He was 18. He was just about to graduate. It was like five days before graduation.
Did you play football or baseball with him?
I played football, basketball and we did track and field together.
What was he like?
He was a quiet guy man. He was cool with everybody. He stayed out of the way. He was never in trouble. He was a good kid. It was just unfortunate how that had to happen.
Robinson described how he switched from offense to defense. “So the story behind that was my boy, Jamal Davis, we went to the same high school, ” says Robinson. “He ended up going to Akron, Pitt. And he got drafted and we played Akron one year and I took a picture with him and all my boys was like, ‘You know him?’ Because we’re kind of built the same. And they’re like, man … ever since then the was like, ‘Bro, you might as well move over to defense.’ So that was all in the back of my head and then I’m watching the 2019 season, I’m going through the 2019 season at wide receiver, it wasn’t going my way. So I’m watching — I love watching college football, so I’m watching Chase Young just run around people, so I’m like, ‘Man, if I can’t do that, there’s something wrong with me.’ So that’s what kind of pushed me to do that.
Then Robinson had to convince his coaches to allow the switch. “I texted, ” he explains, “after our MAC championship game, I wanted a couple of days, I texted my head coach; I texted my positional coach. And I wanted to meet with them. I went into the head coach’s room, I was just like, ‘You know, I want to move to defense, defensive end.’ He was like, ‘Oh, man.’ I felt like he thought Was going to transfer and ask to get into the portal or anything. But he was wide open to it. He offered that and he said, he was also thinking about moving me to an H, like a tight end. But that wasn’t a good spot for me at the time.”
Offensive lineman Braxton Jones is already working on self-improvement. “I think the biggest thing is being coachable,” he notes. “When the coach tells you your first step is slow, you go out there, over and over again and try to correct that first step. That was a big thing for me, even yesterday, was just that first step was too slow and behind me, and so I wasn’t gaining enough ground to get to where I need to be. Some of these, when I get to training camp, are going to be much faster than they are now. So that’s very important, I think, just being coachable and understanding, looking at the coach and being like, ‘Yes, I understand that, I can pick that up.’ And then I can translate it on the field. Just looking quick, finishing, and all that stuff as well.”