- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 16, 2001

IRVING, Texas (AP) Quincy Carter needs all the friends he can get.
The Dallas Cowboys' rookie quarterback has thrown interceptions, he's fumbled snaps and he's torn his left hamstring. He's even had respected, future Hall-of-Fame teammates question whether he should even be starting.
So when times get rough for Carter which has been often this season he knows he can lean on his new friend and longtime idol, former Super Bowl MVP Doug Williams.
"Doug went through it all good and bad," Carter said. "It's good to be able to talk to someone who understands the game and things about life."
Williams got the idea to call Carter during the preseason as his nephew, tight end Johnny Huggins, was in a battle to make the team.
Reaching out to young quarterbacks is something Williams, the first black quarterback to win a Super Bowl, has done for years since retiring from the NFL in 1989.
"When I was growing up, I remember a lot of black quarterbacks coming back to talk to him," Huggins said. "Guys like Randall Cunningham would always come by the house."
Williams had to endure his share of headaches as the first quarterback from a predominantly black college to be picked in the first round of the NFL Draft.
Like Carter, Williams spent much of his early NFL years trying to prove doubters wrong. He finally put the stamp on his career with an MVP performance in the 1988 Super Bowl, leading Washington to a dominating 42-10 win over the Denver Broncos.
"I've been there, done that," said Williams, now the head coach at Grambling. "Quincy's got to learn on the run. Hopefully while he's learning he'll get mentally strong."
Carter, who turned 24 on Saturday, said he was floored by Williams' initial call. As a high school quarterback in DeKalb, Ga., Carter changed his jersey number to 17 in honor of Williams.
"When we first started talking, Quincy said how much he admired me. I appreciated it because very few players are strong enough to say that," Williams said with a laugh. "He also said, 'Man, I've got to get one of your jerseys to hang in my house.
"We just talk about real life. He appreciates me calling. He's always saying, 'Thanks, Doug.'"
After a few weeks of calls during the preseason, Carter finally got a chance to meet Williams during the Cowboys' season-opener against Tampa Bay.
It was the highlight of an otherwise miserable day for Carter.
The rookie completed 9 of 19 passes for 34 yards, was intercepted twice and fumbled twice, losing one the third-worst passing performance in Cowboys' history. Dallas lost 10-6.
Williams still left Dallas impressed with Carter's conviction following the embarrassing debut.
"One thing about Quincy, he's a confident individual," Williams said. He's a lot more mature than your average rookie. He's keeping his head up and not getting caught up in the media hype."
But the problems were just beginning for Carter.
He missed the next two games with an injured right thumb, giving backup Anthony Wright a chance to post some modest numbers. After Wright led Dallas to its first three touchdowns of the season against San Diego, Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith said Wright should start in place of Carter.
It didn't take long for Carter to pickup the phone and vent to Williams.
"I know there's a little thing going on there," Williams said. "He asked me, 'You see what's going on?' I said it's a new ballgame, you've got to keep your head up."

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