Oakland Raiders  

 

Derek Carr talks draft snub, relationship with Raiders teammates

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IT WAS A SCENE that made a grown man cry -- and for the record, few sobbing men in the history of Oakland have been quite as grown as Donald Penn.

Penn, the Raiders' 340-pound left tackle, had just trudged off the Oakland Coliseum playing field following a 33-25 victory over the Colts last Dec. 24, and he was feeling pretty far from festive. After going nearly an entire season without surrendering a single sack, Penn had slipped on a play early in the fourth quarter and watched in horror as Indy defensive end Trent Cole landed hard on his quarterback, who clutched his right leg and began writhing in pain. Now, with the Raiders heading for their first playoff appearance in 14 years, the face of the franchise -- Derek Carr, an MVP candidate in only his third NFL season -- had agony written all over it.

"It's broken, man," Carr said, referring to his fibula, as he sat on a training table in an enclave adjacent to the Raiders' locker room. "I'm done."

Penn looked at Carr's wife, Heather. He turned to make eye contact with Khalil Mack, the Raiders' star pass rusher, and Jack Del Rio, who was in his second year as the team's head coach. Penn hugged Carr, and the group began to pray together. And that's when the tears began to flow.

"I'm a big guy, and a tough guy, but I'm a very emotional guy, too," Penn explained. "And when I saw my guy go down, it was hard. That was my first time in 12 years I ever got a quarterback hurt, and it kinda hurt my pride, too. At that point, with our team, I knew we were going as far as Derek goes. So I'm sitting there going, 'Man, I f----- up the whole franchise.'

"Most of all, it hurt to see DC like that, because I love the guy, and he's my brother. I've had a great relationship with all my quarterbacks, but something with DC is special. So yeah, we were in [the training room] and were all getting emotional, and we cried. 'Cause at that point, it wasn't about football anymore."

And oddly enough, it was in that maudlin moment -- leg throbbing, dreams dashed, Christmas Eve marred -- that Carr felt the most secure about his place in the Silver and Black universe, and about his status as Raider Nation's shining star for the foreseeable future.

"On the field, I was like, 'I am not crying out here ... they are not gonna catch me crying ...' " Carr recalled in June while doing a sitdown interview in his hometown of Bakersfield, California, for an NFL Network feature that will air Sept. 10 on "GameDay Morning." "Then I was in the X-ray room with my wife, and instantly, when the game ended, every single teammate ... just came in and hugged me. A few of them were crying, which didn't help me. That let me know, one, I don't want to go anywhere else, and I would do anything for these guys. And two, the fact that they cared that much about me -- because I know how much I care about them -- the fact that they care the same amount about me, that was one of my favorite moments as an athlete."

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SIX MONTHS LATER, Carr had another magical moment, signing a five-year, $125-million contract extension that made him (at the time) the NFL's highest-paid player. So yes, he has plenty of paper ... and on paper, Carr has it all: At 26, he's the unquestioned leader of a talented team striving desperately to bring a championship to Oakland before the franchise's impending move to Las Vegas, which is scheduled to occur no later than the 2020 season. He's a clean-living, swearing-averse father of two who nonetheless commands locker room cred from all quarters -- just witness his budding bromance with recently signed hometown hero and celebrated iconoclast Marshawn Lynch. And he's now firmly in command of a prolific offensive scheme that promises to grant him far more freedom than in previous seasons, one of the many reasons so many smart football minds are so high on the Raiders.

"They've got a cool thing going," said the Titans' Marcus Mariota, another promising young passer whose team hosts Oakland in Sunday's regular-season opener. "It's gonna be fun to watch them grow together. He's got a great group of receivers, and he makes it easy on them. He puts a nice touch on his passes, and it allows them to go up and get it and make big plays downfield. I think he's a great quarterback."

Vikings cornerback Terence Newman, now in his 15th season, called Carr and the Raiders "pretty scary." Newman continued, "They've got great weapons all around him, and the offensive line is very, very good, as well. He's super competitive. He can make all the reads and all the throws. And he doesn't seem like he gets rattled at all; if he makes a throw, he completely forgets about it and moves onto the next play. He has a chance to be one of the better quarterbacks for a long, long time."

And perhaps the best thing Carr has going for him is that he's in complete control of his environment, with teammates who regard him with an affection bordering on reverence.

"I don't think I've ever seen a guy command so much respect," said Raiders offensive coordinator Todd Downing, who was elevated by Del Rio from his role as quarterbacks coach following the 2016 season. "He handles people with a certain amount of couth that is beyond his years, and that's an amazing thing to say. He can handle the guy on the far left and the guy on the far right, and everything in between. Since he's been here, he's had to be the constant. And the guys believe in him, completely."

They have their reasons. In 2016, Carr led the Raiders to seven comeback victories in games they trailed in the fourth quarter, one fewer than Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, who established a new NFL record in the process. (Last week, Stafford signed a five-year, $135 million contract extension, surpassing Carr atop the league's pay scale.) The other Raiders' faith in Carr is so fervent that their hopes couldn't help but sink when he went down in that Week 16 victory over the Colts. Subsequent defeats to the Broncos (in the regular-season finale) and Texans (in a first-round playoff clash) -- games in which Oakland scored a combined 20 points -- did nothing to dispel the belief that Carr is the Raiders' Khaleesi. In 2017, he'll be the driving force behind their efforts to dethrone the Patriots as Super Bowl champions.

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ON A SWELTERING late-June afternoon in Bakersfield, the Central Valley city where Carr spends much of his offseason, the Raiders' newly minted quarterback is zipping pinpoint passes across a turf field and putting on a clinic -- literally. The Carr Elite Football Clinic is a family affair: Former No. 1 overall draft pick David Carr, who spent 11 years as an NFL quarterback, is running routes for his little brother as scores of youth football players break off into position groups. Middle brother Darren, the head coach at local powerhouse Bakersfield Christian High School, roams the field where the Eagles play their home games, presiding over drills. Parents Rodger and Sheryl Carr stroll the sidelines, where many of the participants' mothers, fathers and siblings are watching the proceedings underneath pop-up tents. "There's The Man, right there," one father says to his tiny son, gesturing at Derek Carr. "This guy makes it look easy."

That's not exactly the message Derek's going for: Getting to this point, he'll tell you, wasn't easy, and it isn't easy now. And though he obviously worked hard for his success, in retrospect, he does not regard it as the product of a single-minded, maniacal mission. A day earlier, at the nationally televised press conference announcing his contract extension, Carr had made a point of informing young viewers that the huge payday had never been his dream, saying, "It's very important ... for them to know that I never chased the money in this whole process. It was never, ever going to be about the money for me. If one kid can understand what I'm trying to tell them by saying that, I think I've done my job."

The following morning, during our interview, Carr had elaborated: "Too many times I see kids come up to me, especially at the high school age, and say, 'Man, it would be cool to play in the NFL just because of the money.' And I'm like, 'Oh my goodness, you are missing everything, because money is not going to make you happy.' It's a cool deal, obviously, but there was no pursuit of it. My only focus was to be the best version of myself. I believe God gave me talent to play this game, and I'd be sacrificing those gifts if I didn't give my best every single day. And that's all I thought about. It really didn't matter how much work I had to put in ... I was always going to give my best. And I think that if a lot of kids can realize that, and stick with that mindset, they won't get so stressed about certain things, and they can just live and play freely."

As a kid living vicariously through his big brother's achievements, Derek absorbed an indelible lesson that money does not necessarily cure all ills. After the expansion Houston Texans made David the first draft pick in franchise history, selecting him No. 1 overall out of Fresno State in the spring of 2002, the entire Carr family moved from Bakersfield to the Houston area to support him. Soon thereafter, Derek, who was 11 at the time, began to question whether the Texans' powers that be possessed a similar philosophy.

After signing David Carr to a seven-year contract with a value of up to $60 million, the Texans installed the rookie as an immediate starter and watched him take a beating like no other quarterback in NFL history. He absorbed 76 sacks in his first season -- still an NFL record -- including nine in his second career game. He also set a single-season league mark for fumble recoveries, collecting 12 of his own. Coach Dom Capers did not hire a quarterbacks coach for Carr, and offensive coordinator Chris Palmer ran a scheme that favored receiving options over extra pass protectors.

Sundays were a nightmare, for David and Derek.

"He still has scars from childhood," David, who is now 38, said of his younger brother. "I was the one getting hit, but he took it even more personally. He was pretty high maintenance."

Home games were especially harrowing for the embattled quarterback and his ride-or-die kid brother.

"Derek was visibly upset after almost every home game, especially early on, to the point where he was sick to his stomach, and he wouldn't even eat the stuff in the players' lounge," David remembered. "After a game, I'd talk to my wife briefly, and maybe my parents, and they'd all be like, 'Derek's really upset.' I'd have to go over and bring him a cookie, and he wouldn't want to eat it. I'd say, 'It's gonna be all right,' and he'd say, 'No, it's not!' Then he would start naming the guys who weren't good enough -- right there in the family area, where those same guys were hanging out. I'd be like, 'Dude! Stop!' It was funny later, but it definitely wasn't so humorous at the time."

It's still not overly hilarious to Derek, who becomes noticeably agitated when recalling that painful 2002 season.

"I grew up watching the Raiders -- Rich Gannon, Tim Brown and Jerry Rice -- and I remember watching the Cowboys before that," Carr said. "I remember watching those [Texans] games, [thinking], Surely, the quarterback's not supposed to be hit this much. You know, I don't remember that happening to [Gannon]. Now that I know what I know about the game, and I go back and watch [David's] games, and it makes me sick to my stomach -- schematically, the help he didn't get. Obviously, they weren't as talented up front, but there are ways to help the guy out: Get him out of the pocket, chips, keep the running back in, keep the tight end in to help. You know, it's not rocket science.

"It's hard enough [to be a young franchise quarterback], right? Let alone to deal with, 'Ah, we'll get all five guys out; our five can block their four.' Well, obviously, it's not working, so maybe you should try something else."

Three years later, the elder Carr absorbed 68 sacks -- still the third-highest single-season total in league history. He was cut by the Texans following the '06 season and finished out his career as a backup with the Panthers, Giants and 49ers. His little bro still bristles at what might have been.

"It makes me sick, because we're talking about a guy who is the most talented thrower I have been around," Derek said of David. "I've never played catch with someone and been like, 'I don't want to catch this ball anymore ... it hurts.' You ask receivers, he throws a heavy ball. When it hits your hands, it's like, Man ... and he's just whipping it. Still to this day -- don't tell him I said this -- I can't beat him in the accuracy game. We'll stand 30 yards apart and throw the ball -- two points if it hits up here (near the head), one point if it hits here (near the stomach). Every throw he makes, it's two points. Every time. And if I miss one, the game's over.

"There's a reason that he was picked No. 1 ... but for him not to get that help, it makes me sick. Because I know the help that [Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie] has given me.' "

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IN 2008, before Derek's senior year of high school, the Carrs moved back to Bakersfield, and he enrolled early at Fresno State the following spring. Carr became the Bulldogs' starter as a redshirt sophomore in 2011, and he later headed into his senior season as one of the nation's top quarterbacks. Already married to Heather, whom he has credited with helping him embrace his Christian faith, Derek was excited about the impending birth of the couple's first child. Then, on Aug. 6, 2013, their son Dallas arrived, but the elation was short-lived: Within several hours, Dallas began vomiting profusely, and doctors discovered that his intestines were tangled and performed emergency surgery, the first of three operations to remedy the condition.

"His intestines were all tangled up, to say it lightly, and they were cutting off the blood flow to his body," Carr remembered. "And I was like, 'Oh man. Please no. Anything but my son.' And that right there was a sign of, You say you are a faithful person? Well, you have to prove it now. It's easy when everything is OK. It is easy when you are going through a little bit of a hard time. But when your son's life is threatened? Are you still going to be that same person?

"The doctors told us that if he was born on time, he wouldn't have made it. But [he was early], and he did. We just tell him he has a sweet shark bite. And if you ask him, he will say, 'And you should have seen what Daddy did to the shark.' "

In September of 2013, Carr was on the Bulldogs' team bus, preparing to head to the airport for a nonconference clash at Colorado, when he and his teammates learned the game had been postponed (and later canceled) due to flooding in the Boulder area. That night, he and Heather ended up rushing Dallas back to the hospital for a third surgery.

"They don't cancel games in college, but they canceled this one, and I was able to be there," Carr said. "And so it all worked out perfectly."

After spending the first 23 days of his life in hospitals, Dallas went home to live with his parents. He is now a healthy 4-year-old; younger brother Deker is 18 months.

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FOLLOWING A STELLAR senior season, Carr received a great deal of pre-draft attention. There was even talk that he might be in the mix to go first overall -- but with the Texans owning that selection, that seemed unlikely, given their history with David. On the first night of the draft, Derek and the family gathered at David's Bakersfield home in anticipation. The Jaguars (Blake Bortles, third overall) and Browns (Johnny Manziel, 22nd) took quarterbacks, but no one called Carr's name.

Finally, when the Vikings traded up into the final spot of the round, he figured his wait was over.

"We were like, 'Oh, here it is ...' and they picked Teddy Bridgewater,' " Carr remembered. "Teddy and I are great friends and we talk all the time, but at that moment, I was so competitive that I saw Blake and Johnny and Teddy go and I was like, 'What the heck, man? What did I do wrong? What did I not show them? What did I not say? What was it about me that wasn't good enough?'

"And it bugged for me like an hour. And then I was like, 'Who picks first in the second round?' And it was Houston, and they weren't going to do it, obviously. And then I see Oakland [with the 36th pick], and I was like, 'That's where I'm going.' And honestly, that's where I wanted to go the whole time."

Sure enough, the following night, Carr got the call from McKenzie, who'd already landed a defensive linchpin by selecting Khalil Mack with the fifth overall pick. And from that point forward, Carr -- like Tom Brady, Richard Sherman and so many other NFL standouts -- would use the perceived draft snub to fuel himself, long after it became obvious he should have gone higher.

"There is no question he has a chip on his shoulder," Downing said. "He wants to be known as one of the greats of all time, but also as a guy who got drafted lower than he should have."

Another Oakland-based star, Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green, can name all 34 players taken ahead of him in the 2012 NBA draft. Asked if he can recite the 35 people who got picked before him, Carr said, "No chance, but I know which teams didn't pick me. Indy was the only team that didn't have a first-round pick, and I know they wouldn't have taken me because they have Andrew Luck, so I count them in there, too. So every team -- even my team -- passed on me. And I go out there every day, not to prove them wrong, but to prove Reggie right."

Carr didn't waste much time showing McKenzie he'd made the right call. Before the draft, McKenzie had dealt a sixth-round pick to the Texans for longtime starter Matt Schaub -- whose trade from Atlanta to Houston seven years earlier had, strangely enough, triggered David's release from the Texans -- and Derek went into training camp the clear-cut backup. Schaub played poorly over the summer, however, and then-Raiders coach Dennis Allen made a point of giving his rookie some snaps with the No. 1 offense during the preseason finale against the Seahawks.

"I was mad that I had to play that fourth preseason game," Penn recalled, "but DC had been really good during camp, and they needed to see him with the starters. We had two series against Seattle, the No. 1 defense, and he drove us right down the field both times. I was like, 'OK. He can do this.' "

Carr completed 11 of 13 pass attempts for 143 yards and three touchdown passes against the defending Super Bowl champions and won the starting job. From that point on, he has continually progressed as both a player and a leader. At first, Carr admits, he was somewhat sheepish about calling people out after mistakes. Now, things have evolved to the point where the quarterback welcomes being called out by others.

"I don't care if you yell at me," Carr insisted. "I have no ego; I have no pride. Get on me because you expect more from me. Our whole team has that mindset."

Carr's latest verbal sparring partner is also one of his most spirited: Lynch, the former Seahawks star running back who came out of retirement to play for his hometown team.

"I don't know if there could be two more opposite people in the world," David Carr said. "But somehow, it works."

The unlikely bond was cemented by trash talk.

"He calls me out," Derek Carr said of Lynch. "I'll sail one in practice, and he'll be like, 'We are not going to win with that stupid throw.' And I will just turn around and be like, 'Not now, Marshawn.' You know, the thing we didn't realize was how funny that guy is. He's hilarious. He was on me from the beginning."

"I'm still killing him," Lynch said during training camp.

What for?

"Mostly, just for being white," Lynch joked.

Said Penn: "They're like brothers. They're always competing about something, talking trash to each other. Marshawn is always saying DC isn't an athlete, and DC is very prideful about his athletic ability, so that gets him. DC will say to Marshawn, 'Hell, I can rush for 1,000 yards behind this offensive line ... I hope you can still make those cuts.' "

Though Carr is not shy about proclaiming his strong Christian faith -- and, in terms of social habits, is the anti-Manziel -- Raiders teammates say he doesn't come off as preachy.

"He's not throwing it on you like that," veteran receiver Michael Crabtree said. "He's very understanding. He can relate to anybody. It's just his personality."

Center Rodney Hudson agreed, saying of his quarterback: "He can relate to everyone. If I need to talk to him about anything, I feel comfortable doing it. I'll ask him questions, even about personal stuff. If he doesn't have an answer, he'll find it."

Said Del Rio during training camp: "The really cool thing is to watch how he and Khalil interact. They came in the same draft class, and they've become very close, and they support each other."

Before the Raiders' second preseason game in August, Carr placed his arm on Mack's left shoulder during "The Star-Spangled Banner," a gesture he later told reporters was intended "to show the kids that look up to me, look up to him, white kids, black kids, brown kids, blue, green, it doesn't matter -- all be loving to each other. We're best friends and we're loving to one another."

Said Penn: "He's a real cool guy. He doesn't drink, and he doesn't cuss, but he's still gonna be around you. Last year, we did a Thursday night dinner, and DC made sure to pop up. He was only there for an hour, but it meant a lot. He said, 'Guys, you know I get up at 5 a.m.,' and got out of there, but it was so cool that he came. He's funny, too. When we say the N-word too much, he'll go, 'God, guys, come on! I let it slide the first 10 times ...' "

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LAST DEC. 4 in Oakland, the Raiders were in the midst of one of those any given Sunday nightmares that happen even to the best of NFL teams: The underdog Bills had come to the Coliseum and manhandled the Silver and Black on both sides of the ball. Six minutes into the second half, Buffalo held a 24-9 lead that seemed destined to grow. The 9-2 Raiders, who'd lost their previous 72 games when trailing by 15 points or more, looked dazed and confused.

Then Carr simply took over, directing touchdown drives on four of Oakland's next five possessions to spur a game-closing, jaw-dropping 29-0 run. Already operating exclusively out of the shotgun formation to relieve pressure on the right pinkie he'd dislocated in the previous week's victory over the Panthers, Carr employed a hurry-up attack throughout much of that stretch, during which he ended up calling many of his own plays.

After the 2016 season, in a surprising move, Del Rio jettisoned offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave and promoted Downing, who had been the quarterbacks coach. In the process, Carr, too, saw his responsibilities increase.

"The good thing is, TD, he's giving DC a lot more control, a lot more power," Penn said of Downing. "I love Billy, but TD has a different approach. You're gonna see a lot of times when we're at the line and TD's just calling the formation and DC's making the [play] call and just letting it rip."

Said David Carr: "When you give Derek that freedom, which they're doing now, I think you'll see him take off even more and play even better. He's as good as I've ever been around in diagnosing what's happening at the line, and I've been in the room with [former Giants teammate] Eli Manning. He might not have all the showmanship at the line that some others do, but he knows what the defense is doing long before they're doing it."

That was apparent late in the first half of a late-August preseason game against the Cowboys, when Carr made a quick pump to his right, immediately pivoted and delivered a beautiful sideline pass to star receiver Amari Cooper that resulted in a 48-yard touchdown.

"That was pretty impressive," said Newman, who watched the play on TV. "[The Cowboys] were in two-deep and he pumped into the seam to get one of the safeties to move to the middle, and you could tell he had his mind made up. He reloaded immediately and threw a great pass to Cooper down the [left] sideline. I was like, 'Holy s---.' The fact that he knew he could move the safety -- damn, that was impressive. And scary."

Even scarier to opponents is the fact that Carr will have more weapons than ever before in 2017. Lynch's physicality should bolster a rushing attacked fueled by one of the best offensive lines in football, while the free-agent signing of tight end Jared Cook figures to enhance a passing game that features a pair of prolific wideouts in Cooper and Crabtree.

Carr will also have the peace of mind that comes from the contract extension, something that wasn't the case a year ago. Shortly before the 2016 season, when Bridgewater, his friend and fellow 2014 draftee, went down in practice with a horrific knee injury from which he still has not returned, Carr admittedly was shook.

"I'm human," he said. "It's going to cross my mind."

Then, on Dec. 24, came the mother of all head trips: Carr took that hit from the Colts' Cole, heard a pop and quickly concluded that he was unable to move his ankle.

"Instantly, when I went down and I was holding my leg, all I could think about was my wife and kids," Carr recalled. "Obviously, every football player that's on a contract year doesn't want to get hurt. The last thing you want to do is break an ankle. I sat there, and all I did was think about them, and I just began to tell myself it doesn't matter what the outcome is -- I'm just going to work my tail off to make sure they're taken care of, whether it's football or something else. Because you don't know at that moment; if I'm done, who knows?"

Carr wasn't done -- within days, he was encouraging teammates by saying he'd be healed in time to play in the Super Bowl -- but in reality, the Raiders were.

"It was the night the Grinch stole Christmas," Del Rio said. "He's having a great season, his family's in town, it's a very festive atmosphere at the Coliseum, and it all came crashing down. What can you do? It was: Suck it up, be a man, do what you can to get past it, and stubbornly go forward."

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AS MUCH AS Raiders owner Mark Davis is looking forward to the franchise's impending move to Vegas, which was approved by his fellow owners at the Annual League Meeting in March, Carr is all in when it comes to Oakland, where the Raiders will play for up to three seasons while their new stadium is constructed. The quarterback often attends Warriors games at Oracle Arena, which sits next door to the Coliseum, and hopes that he and his teammates can hold their own championship parade down Broadway.

"My focus is only on the city of Oakland," Carr said. "That's where we are playing. This is home. That is where I had my first opportunity, and we owe it to the city of Oakland to give it everything we can. Hopefully, it ends with a championship or two or three. I can promise one thing: We are going to give everything we have to that city."

If Carr's head coach had his way, the word "championship" would be off limits at this early stage of his quarterback's career.

"He's a good young player that has a chance to accomplish more," Del Rio said. "But we've still got a lot of work in front of us. He does. We all do. It's not like we're talking about Tom Brady. We understand that we have a good player we love at that position. So now we go to work. But the excessive hype about how great he is ... I don't want to be part of that."

The good news: Carr isn't likely to let up; at least, not in this lifetime. He may not be Brady -- who is? -- but he does seem to possess the hyper-competitive gene that so many of the great ones do.

"Just before the start of training camp, we were up at Derek's house [in the East Bay], and we had some intense games of pool basketball," David Carr recalled. "This is a guy who literally had me help him design his pool so that it would be good for pool basketball -- he's totally into it. Anyway, it's his pool, and my team [which included middle brother Darren] beat his, and he wasn't happy about it. He said, 'You want to play again tomorrow?' and we said, 'Sure.'

"The next morning, Khalil [Mack] and [Raiders safety Karl] Joseph show up at the house. I look at Derek and he says, 'They're on my team.' Then it was six hours of me wrestling Khalil Mack in the pool, which is no fun. At one point, Khalil jumped out of the water and dunked with me on his back. And yeah, Derek's team won."

Suffice it to say that Carr's chlorine-drenched intensity carries over to the practice field.

"He's a perfectionist," Penn said. "Even sometimes after he completes a pass in practice, he'll repeat the rep so that he can put it exactly where he wants it. He'll ask the coaches, 'Can we run it again?' And he'll say, 'Coop, stay there ...' and then put it right in his hands and go, 'There, that feels better.' He never stops working on his game.

"He's been the leader of the offense since he started on Day 1. Now, he's the leader of the team."

As he attempts to take the Raiders back to the Super Bowl for the first time in 15 years, this franchise quarterback swears he will never take that role for granted.

"It's kind of surreal," Carr said. "It's something that I've dreamed of, being in that seat. And it's cool to know that I get to live out a dream, especially for the team I wanted to be with, you know? Not everybody gets that, either. You know, to wear the Silver and Black, the sweetest jerseys, the meanest look, in front of our great fans ... It is the coolest.

"And to put a guy like me in the middle of that and just say, 'Yeah, that's our guy'; I've got the coolest job in the world. And I believe this: To lead the Oakland Raiders every day, to be the franchise quarterback, you have to be a servant. You have to be someone that cares about everybody else above yourself."

They care about him, too. If Carr ever starts to doubt that, he can always flash back to that emotional scene in Oakland last Christmas Eve, when a bone broke, a dream died and grown men cried.

Follow Michael Silver on Twitter @MikeSilver.

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