The Other Side of Lorenzo Carter, the thoughtful, emotional side of a young black man anguished over the injustice he too often sees in a country he believes can and must do better, came as no surprise to those who know him best.
“That’s Lorenzo,” his father, Leo Carter, told The Post from Grayson, Ga. “A lot of people never saw that side of Lorenzo before. We’re always sitting at the table, we’re always talking, we’re always discussing things like that. That’s part of having a balance. Don’t just see one side — see the full picture. And Lorenzo loves all people. That’s why he stated what he stated. He truly believes we can be great, but it’s going to take all of us.”
“It was very heavy on his heart, everything that’s going on, just everything,” his mother, Lisa Carter, told The Post. “The social unrest, the racial tensions. We believe you bleed red, we love everybody. It doesn’t matter what color you are — we love everybody. Everybody has feelings, everybody has a desire to succeed and be great. And it really hurts him.”
During Lorenzo Carter’s impassioned post-scrimmage “Enough Is Enough” plea 57 years after Dr. Martin Luther King had a dream, he referenced a grandfather, and a great-grandfather, and the inequality they endured in their lives.
“He has a grandfather here in Atlanta, and he has a grandfather in Memphis, and he talks with both of them,” Lisa Carter said. “They share a lot of grandson-grandfather time together.”
Leo and Lisa grew up seven houses apart and have known each other since elementary school. They made certain to share a lot of parent-son time together about their own experiences. Lorenzo is the only boy and youngest of three children.
“With us,” Leo Carter said, “we always talk about balance. We talked about not just those experiences, we talked about a lot of experiences. My experiences in college, my wife’s experiences in college, and when Lorenzo went off to college, the conversations we had to have with him. We talk as a family, that’s what we do.”
Lorenzo Carter has a dream, too.
“There definitely are some things that we need to do as a country to come together,” Carter told The Post. “We’re just going to have to keep working on that. That’s nothing that can happen overnight, and I understand that. But as long as we keep making strides and keep using our voices, I feel like we actually can get this stuff going in the right direction.”
On the football field or off it, Lorenzo Carter is someone you should want on your side.
“He always took up for the underdog,” Lisa Carter said. “Whenever Lorenzo was around, there was no bullying, or anything of that sort. He didn’t allow that to happen in his presence.”
“Lorenzo did a lot of after-school tutoring,” she said. “He helped the students who were maybe struggling in certain areas. If he saw them not in class, or not doing the right thing, he’d pull ’em off to the side and say, ‘Look, can we just talk about this? You’re going to have to come to class,’ as a peer mentor tutor thing. Lorenzo just never let anybody say, ‘Hey, that kid in the special ed class,’ — ‘Hey hey hey, don’t do that, that’s not cool.’ ”
Basketball was Lorenzo’s first love before he conceded that 6-foot-5 NBA power forwards had gone the way of the dinosaur. But he never met a challenge he didn’t like.
“Even in middle school when he played basketball, they were telling me middle schoolers can’t dunk, they’re not supposed to dunk,”
Lisa said, “And I remember in a game he got the ball in the open court and it’s like, ‘He can’t do it, he can’t do it.’ ”
He did it.
“As a matter of fact, it was his first dunk, and it was a two-hand dunk, and everybody in the gym went crazy,” Leo said. “You don’t sit at middle school games and see a kid dunk on somebody with two hands.”
Perhaps Lorenzo wasn’t too tender to be a tiger.
“Lorenzo has that Go switch,” Leo said. “When it’s time to Go, he knows how to turn it on and go.”
Lorenzo’s Go switch has registered 8.5 sacks in his first two NFL seasons.
“We always tell him, ‘If God gives you the ability to be great, don’t accept just being good. Work for being great,’ ” Leo said. “Now he’s looking forward to this season. He’s gotten stronger, he’s coming into his man strength, and just watching tape. … Hey, I’m looking forward to this one.”
So is Lorenzo Carter.
“It’s just exciting knowing that I have a chance to make a big impact on this team,” he said.
His new coaches, starting with head coach Joe Judge and defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, have opened his eyes to the importance of fundamentals.
“They teach us a lot about football,” Lorenzo said.
And he’s a sponge.
“I’ve always been confident in myself and my abilities,” Lorenzo said. “I feel like I’m more comfortable. I feel I didn’t understand a lot of things going on around me. We do a lot of focus on situations, understanding what situations give you opportunities to play faster. That’s the thing, knowing when you can take your shots and knowing what’s about to happen before it happens.”
Leo’s message to his son: Go get the quarterback.
“I truly believe that he will be the next great linebacker coming out of the Giants, and will be there for years to come,” he says.
Lorenzo prefers to talk about winning.
“Everybody in the building is excited to get the New York Giants back to where they have been before.”
He is determined to do his part. For the Giants. For the country.