Cardinals rookie defensive lineman David Carter (79) is looking forward to playing against his brother, Steelers linebacker Chris Carter, on Sunday.
Almost from the moment David Carter was drafted by the Cardinals in April – only nine picks after his brother Chris was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers – his family was scurrying to the NFL schedule.
They found what they wanted: Steelers at Cardinals, Sept. 23.
"That's when people started saying, 'I'm going to the game,' " the Cards' rookie defensive tackle said. "I think my Mom sold like 100 tickets. The people that can't get tickets, they are going to tailgate outside."
They will all be there to see the first pro meeting of the Carters, a day that promises to be "emotional."
"The game is bigger than side bets, bigger than brothers," Chris Carter said. "That is my best friend. I'm his No. 1 fan. I wish him the best. I just hope my team wins."
David has played well in a rotation with starting nose tackle Dan Williams, highlighted by a strip-sack of Giants quarterback Eli Manning. Chris has been in a reserve role with the Steelers, although they have a chance to face off Sunday on the field with David on the Cards' kick return team and Chris working for the Steelers' kick coverage.
They grew up playing mostly on the same teams, with David 14 months older. In college, David attended UCLA and Chris Fresno State, and Chris won the lone collegiate matchup between the brothers. He complained David never paid up on a bet to wash his car afterward.
"I'm going to hold him to that as long as we live," Chris said. "If I don't get my car washed somebody is going to pay."
David said he wouldn't mind getting his car washed himself. More importantly, though, the two have leaned on each other, passing along tips gleaned from veterans on how to survive in the NFL.
"It's like I am learning more than the average rookie would learn because it is coming from two different perspectives," David said.
David also wants to stay focused for the game, meaning all those family members have to find a place to stay and pay for their own tickets.
"I love my family, but I can't have (them staying)," David said. "I have a small apartment. That's not going to work out. … They bought the tickets. The NFL money is not that good."
Safety Adrian Wilson has 22 tackles in five games, with an interception, four pass deflections and three quarterback pressures. He hasn't had a sack yet, and coach Ken Whisenhunt said that Wilson's biceps injury – while not bothering him any longer – may have impacted his start.
"I remember when he first got hurt in training camp that first week and then, it's difficult to stay up with all the things that are put in, especially with a new defense," Whisenhunt said. "It's been a learning curve for Adrian but he's been working hard and is certainly a lot more comfortable now. It's tough to go through all that. I will compliment Adrian on how hard he has been working to get back up to speed."
The Steelers certainly haven't forgotten about the impact Wilson can make, wideout Hines Ward said.
"I've got to handle him the whole game," Ward said. "The guy's a massive guy. Just watching the receivers block him … I was in the weight room a little longer (Wednesday). He just has a great knack for trying to stop the run. He's a guy that I've got to be held accountable for."
HOUSLER IF NO HEAP
Tight end Todd Heap missed practice again Thursday with his bad hamstring, and if he can't go for a second straight game, the Cards will again lean on rookie Rob Housler. Housler flashed his talent in Minnesota – specifically his speed and ability to get open in the seam – but the Cards are still looking forward to Heap's return.
"I am excited about Rob because of some of the things you have seen him do, but he's a young football player," Whisenhunt said. "There are a lot of things he hasn't seen in a game that Todd has."
Heap is expected to be a game-day decision again this week. The rest of the Cardinals' injury list remained mostly the same, with linebacker Joey Porter upgraded to full practice with his sore knee. Tight end Jim Dray (pectoral) remained limited and punter Dave Zastudil was still practicing full.
The Steelers' injury list grew by three players, with running back Rashad Mendenhall (knee), center Maurkice Pouncey (elbow) and linebacker Jason Worilds (quadriceps) all limited Thursday. Wide receiver Mike Wallace (hamstring) was also upgraded to limited.
Five key players: linebacker James Harrison (eye), defensive end Aaron Smith (foot), guard Doug Legursky (toe), defensive tackle Chris Hoke (neck) and nose tackle Casey Hampton (shoulder) remained sidelined.