Derek Carr is taking the high road – and hoping he provides a good lesson for his children along the way.
Despite a bitter ending to his time with the Raiders, Carr, now the Saints quarterback, told ESPN he texted Las Vegas head coach Josh McDaniels to congratulate him after Las Vegas’ 17-16 Week 1 road win over the Broncos.
“After the game, I texted Josh McDaniels saying, ‘Hey, congrats on beating the Broncos, man. That’s awesome. Just like we did last year.’ He sent me a nice text back,” Carr said before the Saints’ 20-17 win over the Panthers on Monday.
“When I left, I had a great conversation with (owner) Mark Davis. He knows at some point I’m going to be coming back, he’s like, ‘You’re always welcome, this is always going to be home.’ Once a Raider, always a Raider, they always say that and I’ll be thankful for that when I’m not a Saint, for sure.”
Carr is in the first year of a four-year contract with the Saints following a rough ending to his time with the Raiders, the franchise that drafted in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
McDaniels benched Carr for the final two games of the season, instead turning to Jarrett Stidham.
Carr then stepped away from the team to avoid distractions.
This all happened despite Carr signing a three-year, $121.5 million extension in 2022, and the Raiders acquiring his long-time friend, wide receiver Davante Adams.
The Raiders ultimately cut Carr after failing to find a trade partner, and he met with teams, including the Jets, before signing a four-year, $150 million contract with New Orleans.
Carr’s biggest regret is he could not provide the franchise its fourth Super Bowl trophy.
“When I first left, it hurt so much,” Carr told ESPN. “All you want to do as a quarterback is win a championship for your team, especially the team your dad grew up rooting for and was so close to home. I have so many life-long friends there I played with, work in the equipment room, training room.”
He added: “When I look back at it, I am very proud of what I was able to do. I’d be able to look at my kids in the face and tell them they can get through anything. It’s OK to always choose the right thing to say, even if it’s at the benefit of others and cost of yourself.”
Carr told ESN he is using that tough time as a growth opportunity for both him and his family.
“For that chapter to be over – I don’t think it ended how I wanted, it didn’t end well, but I’m going to make the most of it,’ Carr said. “I’m going to be who I am, the kind of guy I want to be, I want my kids to be if they go through a hard time.
“That’s been fun to kind of learn that and become that man through this process.”
Carr has helped lead the Saints to a 2-0 start, and they will look to remain undefeated Sunday when they visit the Packers.
He’s thrown for 533 yards, along with one touchdown and two interceptions.
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