New York Jets' Michael Carter runs with the ball between...

New York Jets' Michael Carter runs with the ball between Philadelphia Eagles' Andre Chachere, right, and Philadelphia Eagles' Davion Taylor during the first half of a preseason NFL football game Friday, Aug. 12, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) Credit: AP/Matt Rourke

Michael Carter could have felt a little threatened when the Jets drafted running back Breece Hall one year after he was taken. Instead, he believes in paying it forward.

Former Jets running back Tevin Coleman helped guide Carter when he was a rookie last year. The 23-year-old Carter is doing that for Hall, helping to mentor a back who is just two years his junior.

Carter played for North Carolina, where he shared a backfield and touches with Broncos lead back Javonte Williams. Carter knows Hall strengthens the running back room and the Jets overall. He also knows his own value to the Jets and is driven to blaze his own path to greatness.

“It’s not my business what they do upstairs,” Carter told Newsday. “It is, but it’s not. I say that it is because I’m on the team and it does affect me. I say that it’s not because regardless of what they do, they don’t hold my pen for my story. I do.

“Their standard for me is nowhere near my own standard. I want to be the best. I always say that and I’m loud about it because I really feel that way. You manifest things through speaking out loud.”

Speaking comes easily for Carter. He has an infectious personality to which other players gravitate. His teammates call him “The Voice,” which makes him smile when it’s brought up.

Carter, a fourth-round pick, is mature beyond his years. North Carolina coach Mack Brown would check in with him to get the pulse of the team whenever there was something important to discuss with the group. Carter said that happened organically.

“Life is about respect,” he said. “Everywhere I go, I try my best to earn the respect of my peers and those around me. After you earn the respect, that’s how you create a voice. What you say means a lot to them because you’ve already showed that what they say means a lot to you.”

Carter has established that very quickly with the Jets.

“His personality is something that’s special,” running backs coach Taylor Embree said. “He’s always going to bring other people along.”

Offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur said: “We’re going to lean on Michael Carter to be a leader for us in all facets. Not just for the running backs but for every group. He’s earned that right the way he shows up every single day, the way he works, his attitude. I love that kid.”

He’s already doing that with Hall, a second-round pick from Iowa State. Both have three-down abilities. Carter currently is the lead back in what might turn into more of a by-committee attack, and he’s doing everything he can to show Hall the ropes.

“I ask a lot of questions just trying to get a grasp on how he took the time to learn things,” Hall said. “Just asking him how he started to learn everything. He doesn’t hesitate to help me out, give me feedback.”

Carter always has studied other running backs, from Emmitt Smith and Curtis Martin to current players such as Alvin Kamara. He’s always looking for things he can add to his game.

The Jets played Carolina in last year’s opener, which was Carter’s NFL debut. He watched how Christian McCaffrey worked, earning 98 rushing yards and 89 receiving yards on 30 total touches. Carter had 6 yards on four carries.

“That was a good learning experience,” he said. “What I was doing wasn’t working. I just knew I had to get better. I knew there was a long way to go. I feel confident about where I am right now.”

Carter became the Jets’ lead back in Week 3 and showed he could be a playmaker as a ballcarrier and receiver, with a talent to make opponents miss and break tackles. Carter finished with 964 scrimmage yards and four touchdowns on 183 touches.

He went from trying to prove he can play harder than or “outrush” the opposing team’s lead back to believing he belongs.

“Now I’m chasing how good can I get and how good can we get?” he said. “I think last year was more of a confirmation of I do have the talent to play in this league. Now it’s more of how can I use my talent to maximize our team. Just overall putting in that work, putting your head down every day and just going to work and giving God the glory when we’re up. That’s what it’s about.”

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