Derek Carr reflects on death of former Raiders RB George Atkinson III


Derek Carr reflects on death of former Raiders RB George Atkinson III

ALAMEDA – Raiders quarterback Derek Carr opened his Wednesday press conference on a somber note.

Carr offered some kind words about former teammate George Atkinson III, who died Monday at age 27. Atkinson III, the son of Raiders great George Atkinson II, spent three short stints with the Silver and Black and was part of the team’s active roster during the 2014 season.

Carr and Atkinson III were part of the same rookie class and got to know each other during that time. Atkinson III also bounced around the league some and was last part of an NFL organization in 2018.

His twin brother Josh Atkinson committed suicide in Dec. 2019, and George III admitted feeling depression in a first-person account detailing his family’s struggle with mental health, which can be read right here.

Atkinson II has been with the Raiders a ton this season as an ambassador and in an advisory role. The Silver and Black have a strong attachment to their alumni, so Atkinson III’s death has hit the franchise hard.

“I just wanted to send our prayers to Mr. Atkinson,” Carr said. “George III was a teammate of mine. It’s crazy how quick life can come at you. I love George III. We had a lot of fun playing basketball at 24-Hour Fitness as well as playing football games together and competing together. He was always so joyful and so happy. He got cut and re-signed a whole bunch of times. Every single time he looked so thankful to be here. I just wanted to say that we’re thinking about him and family, and that we love him.”

Carr was asked if he saw any signs of trouble during interactions with Atkinson III in previous seasons, and nothing came to mind.

“I would have never guessed that he was struggling that hard,” Carr said. “I know things had happened in the year prior that could make you hurt. Every time I was around George III, I never would’ve thought he was hurting that much. Every time I was around him, he was full of happiness, full of joy.”

Las Vegas Raiders can use Tom Brady to build business, Jay Glazer says

Las Vegas Raiders can use Tom Brady to build business, Jay Glazer says

While Derek Carr was in Las Vegas for the Raiders' official rebranding this week, speculation about Tom Brady joining the Silver and Black continues to simmer.

Two weeks ago, The Athletic's Jay Glazer said that Brady to the Raiders is a "no-brainer" because it would help with ticket sales, among other things.

On Friday, Glazer added a bit more context when asked again about where Brady will play next season.

"I said it last week, the Chargers or the Raiders," Glazer wrote. "I spoke about the business side of things. You guys kind of jumped on me talking about how great ticket sales are for the Raiders. I don’t know if I said ticket sales or not but there’s way more than ticket sales when you’re building up a business. They can use Tom Brady to build the business of the Raiders, which will now be an international team. I say that because of all the big business whales from all over the world who are going to come to Las Vegas and now be exposed to the Raiders.

"That’s going to be a hot ticket. The international marketing will be huge. The Raiders are going to be big players internationally with that. That’s why I would think it’s a brilliant move to go to Vegas."

Brady, who will turn 43 years old before the start of the 2020 NFL season, is a free agent and could move on from the Patriots, the only franchise he has ever known.

Carr is under contract with the Raiders for three more seasons, and recently said he is "looking forward" to being under center for the first snap in Las Vegas. But head coach Jon Gruden didn't give the most glowing endorsement of Carr after the regular-season finale in December.

All of this has fueled chatter that the Raiders could bring in Brady to help open their first season in Sin City.

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While Brady led the Patriots to a 12-4 record this past season, his numbers declined, suggesting that his best days are behind him.

If owner Mark Davis and Gruden want to win games and continue to build a solid foundation for the future, they'll stick with Carr. If they are more concerned with making a sexy splash, they'll make the change to Brady.

Derek Carr 'looking forward' to being QB in Raiders' Las Vegas opener

Derek Carr 'looking forward' to being QB in Raiders' Las Vegas opener

Out of a possible 96 starts since being drafted by the Raiders in 2014, quarterback Derek Carr has been under center for 94 of them.

But after a disappointing 7-9 season, many Raiders fans have clamored for a change at the game’s most important position.

Carr, however, hasn’t paid the rumors or social media fodder too much attention.

“But I'll say it this way,” Carr said (h/t ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez). “I look forward to taking the first snap in that stadium, and I look forward to taking every snap from here on out -- until I'm done."

The 28-year-old had a career year in 2019, setting career-highs in passing yards (4,054), yards per attempt (7.9), and quarterback rating (100.8).

But coach Jon Gruden grew frustrated with Carr’s inability to throw the ball downfield consistently, and some potential free agent quarterbacks reportedly have caught the Raiders’ eye.

[RELATED: Raiders should pay attention to these 10 Senior Bowl stars]

As the team re-brands and moves into its new home in Sin City, some believe the team will bring on a new starting signal-caller to usher in the Las Vegas Raiders era.

Just don’t count Carr among them.