Tony Carter, a 5-foot-9, 175-pound cornerback, was engulfed by the media in the Broncos' locker room this week. He seemed a little shocked, but he handled the attention usually reserved for a star player as best he could.

How he plays against quarterback Tom Brady and the New England Patriots' passing attack in the AFC championship game Sunday is a bigger, more important matter.

After spending much of the season on the bench because of a series of early season mistakes, Carter has been thrust into the spotlight because starting cornerback Chris Harris went down with a knee injury in Denver's divisional playoff victory over San Diego last Sunday.