Carter having fun despite Raiders rough season

Carter having fun despite Raiders rough season

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) Though the Oakland Raiders were long ago eliminated from playoff contention, Andre Carter is relishing the final few weeks of the season as if it were a championship run.

Just over a year after sustaining a quadriceps injury that could have ended his career, the defensive end thinks he's almost all the way back to the form that earned him his first Pro Bowl selection in 2011.

``I'm pretty close,'' Carter said Friday. ``As a player you always have to be honest with yourself and say, `OK, maybe I can still contribute, but not on a high level.' I still like I can play at a high level. I still feel like I can be a productive player.''

Carter had a sack and three quarterback hurries in the Raiders' 15-0 victory over Kansas City last week, and has played 70 snaps over the past two games.

His overall numbers (25 tackles, two sacks in 10 games) aren't on the elite level. However, over the past month, Carter been one of the Raiders' most productive defensive linemen while nudging out starter Matt Shaughnessy for playing time.

What Carter doesn't have is a contract for next season.

The seventh overall pick in 2001, who enters Sunday's game at Carolina eighth among active players with 78 career sacks, is one of 21 players on Oakland's roster scheduled to become free agents next season.

What the market will be for an aging defensive lineman coming off a major injury is uncertain, especially for one who turns 34 next May.

Not that Carter seems too concerned about it. At this stage in his career, simply being back on the field and playing is enough.

``I tell everybody, I count my blessings every day especially with this type of injury,'' Carter said. ``Some guys would probably hang it up. I came across guys that just pushed through, and I knew I could overcome it.''

It wasn't easy.

The torn quadriceps muscle he sustained against Denver on Dec. 18, 2011, required eight months of immobilization followed by extensive rehab.

Carter spoke with a few teams while out of football but remained unemployed until signing with the Raiders on Sept. 27.

Since then, he's provided much-needed leadership on a defensive line that has been without its best player (defensive tackle Richard Seymour) for the past six weeks. Seymour will miss a seventh consecutive game this week due to a lingering hamstring injury.

``You can't say enough about Andre,'' said Oakland defensive coordinator Jason Tarver, who was an assistant with San Francisco during Carter's five seasons with the 49ers from 2001-05. ``Even when he was a rookie he was the ultimate pro because you told him something, he took it in, applied it, tried it and then came back and gave you feedback. That experience he brings in there ... another voice to help your guys, that's all he cares about is winning.''

That's not happened much this season for the Raiders.

Oakland (4-10) is attempting to win consecutive games for only the second time this season. To do that, Carter and his colleagues on the defensive line will have to contain Carolina quarterback Cam Newton.

Newton is easily the most elusive quarterback the Raiders have faced this season. He has been sacked 33 times this season - eighth most in the NFL - but needs only 53 rushing yards to break the 700-yard mark for the second straight year.

As good as Newton has been this season, Carter hopes his teammates don't get too careful trying to contain Carolina's speedy quarterback who has been at his best when scrambling away from pressure.

``Those types of quarterbacks are dangerous,'' Carter said. ``At the same time you can't be tentative and not do your job. It's very important to be disciplined and communicate. If you do those things then you'll be successful.''

Notes: Safety Tyvon Branch practiced for the first time this week but is questionable after being limited. ... CB Phillip Adams will return punts against the Panthers after splitting the duties with WR Denarius Moore last week. Adams suffered a concussion in that game but was cleared by doctors earlier this week.

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Eagles' Michael Bennett allegedly injured elderly worker; arrest warrant issued

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Eagles' Michael Bennett allegedly injured elderly worker; arrest warrant issued

Philadelphia Eagles lineman Michael Bennett has been indicted on felony abuse for allegedly pushing an elderly NRG Stadium worker during Super Bowl LI.

Bennett was indicted by the Harris County, Texas district attorney's office for injury to the elderly — which is intentionally and knowingly causing injury to a person 65 years or older, according to a press release from the Harris County Sheriffs' Office.

A warrant has been issued for Bennett's arrest.

The 66-year-old paraplegic stadium worker was attempting to control field access when Bennett allegedly pushed her. 

The maximum penalty Bennett faces is ten years in prison in addition to a $10,000 fine.


Bennett — whose brother Martellus played in that Super Bowl for New England — was a member of the Seattle Seahawks during the incident and was in attendance as a noncompetitive player.

The NFL has been made aware of the situation and is looking into the matter, according to Pro Football Talk.

The 32-year-old 10-year NFL veteran could potentially face NFL discipline under the league's personal conduct policy. 


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Wizards host students from Stoneman Douglas High School ahead of 'March For Our Lives'

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Wizards host students from Stoneman Douglas High School ahead of 'March For Our Lives'

With a march on Washington planned for this weekend following the mass shooting in Parkland, FL, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were invited by the Wizards to attend their Friday morning practice at Capital One Arena.

About 20 of the kids showed up to watch the Wizards practice, took pictures with players, got a tour of the facilities and walked away with Wizards hats and gear. It was a small break away from what has been a tumultous time ever since the massacre at their school on Feb. 14.

Wizards majority owner Ted Leonsis was on hand to speak with the students, who are set to lead the 'March For Our Lives' through downtown Washington on Saturday.


Wizards guard Bradley Beal met with the media after taking photos with the students.

"For us to be able to take their mind off of it for just a few minutes is always a great feeling," Beal said. "At the end of the day, we're all human beings regardless of our careers are and what our jobs are. A lot of us have families, kids, brothers and sisters. The last thing that you want to happen is what happened to several of those families. You can never imagine."

Beal went to college in Florida and has participated in his own forms of activism. He has found inspiration in the efforts by Stoneman Douglas students. They have taken what happened to their school as a catalyst for what they hope produces change in the ability to protect similar attacks from happening again.


Beal, 24, finds that admirable.

"It's amazing sometimes to learn from the youth on how to do things," Beal said. "It's a testament to where our world needs to lead to, to where we need to get to and to come together as a society. It starts with us as the younger generation. We've gotta come together with love and do things like this. I think what they're doing is awesome. It's spreading positive vibes and it's true humanitarian work that they're doing."

The Stoneman Douglas students are expected to attend Friday night's Wizards-Nuggets game as well.

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