Veteran linebacker Dan Connor signed a two-year, $6.5 million contract with the Dallas Cowboys this offseason. With Sean Lee, Connor's former teammate at Penn State, entrenched at one starting spot, Connor will compete with 2011 second-round pick Bruce Carter for the other available job.
Following his final season with the Carolina Panthers, during which starters Jon Beason and Thomas Davis were lost to season-ending injuries, Connor understands how important quality depth at the LB position is in the NFL, Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News reported Tuesday.
"There's always competition," Connor said. "No matter what they say or how good the player is, there's somebody who's going to be trying to get there, so this is just like any other year.
"Whoever gets out there, that's great. But any team I've been on, it's hard to get through the season with just the starting linebackers. You need guys who can come in and play, if injury happens or even just rotational, give a guy a break or give Sean a breather here and there. It's never been a problem having too many good 'backers."
Seeing how Carter played in just 41 snaps last season as he recovered from knee surgery, it would not be a surprise if Connor beats him out for the starting job. Either way, Connor is happy to be on an "unbelievable" Cowboys team.
"Heat's been brutal but everything else has been great," Connor said. "It's an unbelievable team. This is a great group of guys. Great coaching staff. Everything's been smooth. It's something to be excited about. The fans should be real excited about the team they put together here."