ALAMEDA -- Top athletes rarely admit to hearing outside chatter, especially when they’re the subject of hot takes screamed on nationally televised morning shows and drive time talk radio.
Questions about it are normally met with a shrug and those statement hot takes weren’t heard despite an unspoken understanding that they were.
Derek Carr didn’t take that tact. The veteran quarterback was forthright about the fact he rolled eyes at nonstop national speculation the Raiders would take a quarterback high in the NFL draft. Head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock said time and again that Carr was their quarterback, and that all the private workouts and fancy dinners with Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins were merely due diligence.
Actions spoke louder to some who continually insisted the Raiders were going quarterback early. The topic never died nationally, and it wore thin in the Carr household.
“Honestly, it got annoying after a while,” Carr said. “I’m like, ‘they literally don’t have anything else to talk about?’ I certainly didn’t help the situation, trying to challenge people to fights.”
That came during the Senior Bowl, when the Raiders coached Drew Lock and other passing prospects, prompting some Carr criticism from the reactionary ESPN show “First Take.” Carr fired back with offers to get in the ring with their hosts, exactly the attention shows like that want.
Carr quieted down after that. He has laid extremely low, save a few chats on his YouTube channel and hype video appearances with Antonio Brown. He met the press after Tuesday’s OTA practice session and was clear he was in the loop during the pre-draft process.
“To be honest with you, the owner, GM, head coach and the quarterback … I don’t know about other places, but, here, we’re all on the same page,” Carr said. “I talk to all three of those guys all the time. They tell me good, bad and ugly all the time, because that’s what our team needs. That’s what good organizations do.”
That open line of communication gave Carr assurances he wouldn’t be challenged by a top quarterback prospect.
“I met with all of them and talked with all of them and, when I was watching into the draft, there was negative 47-percent chance they were going to draft somebody, in my mind,” Carr said. “Hopefully those guys didn’t have their hopes up, but it wasn’t going to happen. They pretty much said that every time it came up, if it even came up. We’re not just playing for this year. I’m honestly going to be here a long time. Hopefully that’s okay with you guys. You have to get used to me.”
The pressure, it seems, will never leave. The expectations for Carr will be sky high after the Raiders got him some help up front and at the skill positions with Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams and Josh Jacobs.
This is widely viewed as a prove-it season for Carr, and his performance will establish whether the Raiders will bring him to Las Vegas following next year’s move from the Bay Area. That narrative will pick up steam next offseason, especially if Gruden and Mayock embark on another quarterback prospect tour.
“No doubt, right? Here we go again,” Carr said. “Let’s just get through this year first and then we’ll play that game again. I’ll probably have some more fun with it. I’m not going anywhere. This is my team and it will be for the next, however long time I’m here.”