Raiders

Raiders QB Derek Carr responds to viral rumor

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AP

Raiders QB Derek Carr responds to viral rumor

ALAMEDA – Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was the subject of some unflattering rumors on Tuesday morning. Teammates swiftly came to his defense on social media, shutting down an inflammatory, incorrect story spread by a controversial Internet radio show host married to an NFL player.

On Wednesday, the topic fell at Carr’s feet.

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Some background:

The host, repeating a story told by a Raiders fan on her podcast, said Carr demanded his teammates stand during the national anthem prior to a Sept. 24 game in Washington, the Sunday night contest following anti-NFL-player statements made by President Trump. The host then claimed that there was a pregame argument in the Raiders locker room over that issue, and, here's the kicker, that the Raiders offensive line intentionally allowed Derek Carr to get hit and eventually hurt.

Since we here at NBC Sports Bay Area aren’t in the business of spreading rumors, here’s a quick synopsis of what happened, according to team sources on and off the record. It was also written in large part here. The Raiders planned to stay in the locker room for the anthem -- there was a spirited discussion, with opinions from several levels of the organization, the night before -- as many other teams did in response to Trump’s comments on NFL anthem protests.

Logistics of Sunday Night Football’s unique pregame schedule took that option away. The Raiders tried to work out a different plan on the fly, and there was some disagreement on how to handle the new situation as a unit. That wasn’t resolved during the limited discussion time before an important game. That’s why you saw groups protesting in different ways. The offensive line and most Raiders defenders sat with arms locked. Others chose to kneel. Carr was among several who stood. The team’s unquestioned leader and franchise quarterback prayed during the anthem near other teammates who sat and stood. At no point did Carr tell anyone what to do.

Then the Raiders got outplayed, outschemed and outcoached by an energetic, determined Washington football club. That was it. They lost a football game they wanted to win. End of story.

Carr suffered transverse process fractures in his back the following week at Denver on a freak play where he was awkwardly wrenched to the ground and kneed in the back by a Broncos defensive lineman. Every Raiders offensive linemen immediately huddled around him, and left  tackle Donald Penn looked concerned as he walked with Carr toward the sideline. 

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Back to present day:

This false theory was originally discussed by a non-sports radio show in Sacramento shortly after the Washington game saying the line allowed him to get hit, but it didn’t become a mainstream topic until players reacted to Tuesday’s rehashing by the aforementioned Internet radio host.

This rumor gone viral came up during Carr’s Wednesday bye-week press conference.

A reporter asked if a Bible verse he posted on Twitter Tuesday afternoon – "Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything." Proverbs 13:3, NLT -- was a response to the rumor.

“I know you have to ask. That has nothing to do with what was said,” Carr said told the inquiring reporter. “I don’t give false claims any due. If you see anything (on my Twitter timeline), you see I post a lot of scriptures. You can ask anyone about the YouVersion Bible app; that was the scripture of the day and I just posted it.”

Fans immediately thought the post and story were connected.

“Everyone started saying ‘shade,’ this and all that. I’m bigger than that,” Carr said. “I don’t pay any mind to that kind of stuff because it detours. Making false claims about somebody before you know them, and about a group of guys, that has no business in our world. We’re trying to promote peace and love. I don’t think that has any place.”

Several players immediately shot down the story on Tuesday, including Penn.

https://twitter.com/DPENN70/status/927914188197937158

Five new Raiders with something to prove in 2018 season

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USATSI

Five new Raiders with something to prove in 2018 season

The Raiders are taking some time off during the dead period of the NFL offseason. Even early bird Jon Gruden is slapping the snooze button these days, spending some quality time with family before training camp cranks up later this month.

Coaches and players are still finding time for work, sometimes while they’re on vacation. The Raiders want to hit the ground running this preseason, with many motivated to show well in silver and black. That’s especially true for a large class of new Raiders, many of whom hope to silence detractors.

Here are five newcomers with plenty to prove in 2018:

5. CB Rashaan Melvin

Lists like this are normally reserved for guys coming off injuries or down years. Melvin doesn’t fit that mold. The 28-year old had his best year in 2017, often shutting down top receivers as Indy’s top cornerback. He allowed a paltry 60.3 passer rating when targeted, with three picks, 10 passes defensed and just two touchdowns allowed.

Those stats didn’t produce a robust free-agent market. Melvin ended up signing a one-year, $5.5 million deal with Oakland, and is now working to show he’s not a one-year wonder and can stay healthy for 16 games. An ovation-worthy encore would surely earn a long-term, bigger-money deal.

Melvin made his motivation clear on Twitter a few weeks back.

4. WR Jordy Nelson

Nelson had a down year in 2017. It started well, with six touchdowns in the first four games he played. Then all-world Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers went down, and things hit the skids. He averaged just 9.1 yards per reception, and didn’t score after that early flurry.

That led some to say Nelson lost a step at age 32 he would not recover. The Packers asked him to take a massive pay cut, and ended up releasing him in March. The Raiders swooped in quickly with a two-year deal and plenty of guaranteed money.

Nelson has been praised for his attention to detail and position-group leadership, and will fit into the starting lineup with Amari Cooper and Martavis Bryant. He had four straight 1,000-yard seasons prior to last year. His worth won’t be defined by a monster statistical year. Reliability, leadership and red-zone performance will show if Nelson’s still got it.

3. RB Doug Martin

The veteran rusher has had an uneven career. Excellent production has come in spurts, with dominance in 2012 and 2015. The last 1,400-plus yard season was followed by two seasons of 2.9 yards per carry, which led Tampa Bay to cut his this winter.

He met Gruden for lunch at a Florida golf course, and the exchange convinced Gruden the 29-year old was ready to work and prove he had plenty left in the tank. His work was praised during the offseason program, though practice in pads and preseason play will offer stronger evidence of 2018 effectiveness. Showing well in camp could lead to an increased role behind starter Marshawn Lynch. Gruden likes using multiple backs in his offense, and could make steady contributions in the run game.

2. MLB Derrick Johnson

The longtime Kansas City Chief was let go by the team that drafted him in 2005, but it was not the end of his NFL journey. Some thought he’d call it a career at age 35, especially after suffering an Achilles’ tendon tear in Dec. 2016, but he found a new home in Oakland and a strong bond with Gruden. The Raiders need stability in the middle, and Johnson will provide on-field leadership. There’s no doubt about that.

Johnson must prove capable of being a three-down linebacker effective against the run and pass. Marquel Lee is available should the Raiders require a platoon, but Johnson doesn’t want that. The Raiders need his expertise inside at all times.

1. Head coach Jon Gruden

Gruden isn’t a newcomer, but it’s been nearly two decades since he roamed the silver and black sidelines. He hasn’t coached since 2008, but returned to the Raiders in January after nine years in the broadcast booth.

Gruden has said several times he has something to prove to his critics. That might be a self-motivational tool. There aren’t many in the East Bay, where the fan base as rallied behind him and players have loved the intensity and passion he brings to practice and meetings.

Some assume his old school tendencies and his “bringing it back to 1998” comment this offseason implies he is resistant to change or offensive innovation. That’s not the case, not by a long shot. We’ll see lots modern offense Gruden studied as an ESPN broadcaster and in his downtime at his Tampa offices, with new wrinkles unveiled as game plans dictate.

Gruden has made a solid impression in his return to coaching but, as it always is in his line of work, effectiveness will be determined by wins and losses. He won’t be graded off one-year alone, especially without solid roster depth, but Gruden wants to start fast and re-establish Raiders winning ways.

Raiders CB Gareon Conley files countersuit against woman who accused him of rape

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USATSI

Raiders CB Gareon Conley files countersuit against woman who accused him of rape

Raiders cornerback Gareon Conley has filed a lawsuit against the woman who accused him of rape in April 2017.

A Cuyahoga County grand jury declined to indict him on criminal charges stemming from an incident in Cleveland less than a month before the 2017 NFL Draft.

Conley deemed the allegations false at the time, and maintained his innocence throughout the process.

His accuser filed a civil suit against Conley on April 6, 2017, seeking $25,000 in damages.

Conley has chosen to file a counter lawsuit, seeking compensation for damage to his reputation, draft stock and endorsement opportunities.

According to court documents obtained by TMZ, he lost an endorsement deal with Nike because of the accusation. He reiterated his innocence in court filings, saying he turned down his accusers advances.

The Ohio State product was considered a top 15 talent heading into the draft, but was ultimately selected No. 24 overall by the Raiders despite the rape accusation.

He missed most of his rookie season with a shin injury that required surgery. He was cleared for full football activity this spring.