Capitals

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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Possible playoff opponents for the Capitals are starting to come into focus

Possible playoff opponents for the Capitals are starting to come into focus

With their 3-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday, the Capitals' playoff future is starting to come into focus. Washington has only one game remaining and can finish in either third or fourth in the round robin standings. That limits the number of possible playoff opponents for the Caps when the games really start to matter.

First, before talking about who the Caps may play, it is important to remember why. Under the NHL's regular format, a normal year would see teams advance in a bracket, meaning each team knows going in they will be playing the winner of a specific matchup if they advance. This year, the NHL is going back to its old format of re-seeding after each round. This makes determining matchups a bit harder to figure out.

Here's what we know. The Caps are going to finish in the bottom half of the round robin meaning they will play one of the highest two seeded teams coming out of the qualifying round. The Carolina Hurricanes swept their qualifying round series against the New York Rangers. As the No. 6 seed coming in, Carolina is going to be one of the top two qualifying round teams.

RELATED: DEFENSIVE BREAKDOWNS AND MORE FROM CAPS LOSS TO FLYERS

Washington's final seed will be determined by Sunday's game against the Boston Bruins. A win in regulation, overtime or a shootout will mean the Caps are No. 3, while a loss in any fashion will bump them down to No. 4.

The simplest scenario for Washington is that If the Pittsburgh Penguins rally to win their series against the Montreal Canadiens, the Caps are guaranteed to play either Pittsburgh or Carolina as the No. 5 and 6 seeds, respectively. It gets a little trickier if the Penguins lose. If that happens, the Hurricanes become the top qualifying team and will play No. 4. The top team behind them then becomes No. 6 which, as of now, could be the New York Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs or the Columbus Blue Jackets.

So a rematch with the Hurricanes is a definite possibility for the Caps, as is a matchup with the rival Penguins.

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Report: Derrius Guice's attorney denies client's domestic abuse allegations

Report: Derrius Guice's attorney denies client's domestic abuse allegations

Derrius Guice's representation has released a statement that says the Washington Football Team running back "adamantly denies" the charges that he was arrested for on Friday

Guice turned himself into the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office facing one count of strangulation, three counts of assault and battery, and one count destruction of property.

The following statement from Peter Greenspun was obtained by Ben Standig of The Athletic. 

"Mr. Guice will not be commenting on these charges, which he adamantly denies. We ask that the media respect Mr. Guice's privacy," the statement read. 

"Unfortunately, the investigators did not seek a statement or any input for Derrius before the warrants were issued. The failure to fully investigate allegations of events, which allegedly took place months ago is inexplicable."

Greenspun, who has a historic career and most notably was a defense attorney in the 'D.C. Sniper trial,' called the charges of his client "unsubstantiated." He also called out the football franchise for releasing Guice prematurely without inquiring about the investigation. 

"... a full vetting of the allegations will take place, in contrast to actions by local law enforcement and the Washington Football Team that assumed the worst, directly contradicting every sense of fairness and due process," the statement concluded.

The Washington Football Team released Guice less than an hour after his arrest became public. The move came through as a part of the culture Ron Rivera has vowed to instill during his first few months as head coach. This is also not the first time Guice has faced issues for off-the-field behavior. He fell to the team back in the 2018 draft due to issues he had while with LSU.

In his short tenure, Rivera has dealt with a tumultuous series of issues arising from the franchise including current and former players facing other serious allegations, a monumental name change, and serious allegations of the culture within the team's executives.

Despite injuries mounting in two years for the 23-year-old back, it was expected that Guice would become the leading rusher in the backfield this season. Still, he had yet to prove to be a consistent contributor with only 42 carries for 245 yards and two touchdowns entering his third season.

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