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Derek Carr transcript: What he said about Jon Gruden’s resignation – Las Vegas Raiders Blog

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LAS VEGAS — Derek Carr, his voice cracking at times and his eyes growing moist, spoke on a number of subjects in the Las Vegas Raiders quarterback’s weekly media conference Wednesday, less than 48 hours after Jon Gruden had resigned.

The torrent of offensive emails authored by Gruden still fresh in his mind, Carr talked for nearly 15 minutes, saying he was emotional but had a job to do, that the Raiders’ season was not done and of the mood in a shell-shocked locker room. He also offered a suggestion to the NFL when it comes to private emails and texts.

Here is the complete transcript of Carr’s presser with reporters (questions have been edited for clarity).

What’s been your message to your teammates? And do you get a sense of where everyone else is mentally?

Carr: Yeah, again, I can’t speak for everybody. I’m not in everybody’s shoes. A lot of emotions obviously. Didn’t see all of this coming. I don’t think any of us did. It just caught us all by surprise, but there will be a day for those feelings. There will be a day and a time to talk about all that, and I’ll get into some of it if you have more questions.

But from an emotional standpoint I got a job to do and that’s never changed no matter who the coach is, no matter who’s on the team with me. I have a job to do and that’s to lead these men, especially now. They need a leader more than ever and my job is to lead them with my actions like I always have and my voice. Just trying to be a strong voice for people to continually bring people together and continually push people in the right direction. We’re 3-2. We have everything out in front of us that we’ve wanted from the beginning. It’s not going to be with the same room of people, which is hard, but at the same time nobody cares, and you know how that goes. I think that for me just the message today was I just tried to push everything off.

I mean I’m sick about it. I have a lot of emotions — angry, sick, upset, mad, frustrated. All those things. Empathy. I don’t think there is a book on how to handle all this, or actually there is, but I don’t think that there is a way for a quarterback to stand up here and answer these types of questions is what I should say. But for me, my message today was we have a job to do. It’s Wednesday, if we are still in our feelings, it’s too late. We got to move on.

You said Sunday you were prepared to move forward with Jon Gruden as head coach. How did that change after the rest of those emails came out?

Carr: It was a lot to handle, I’ll say it that way. You all know me, man. I don’t condone that kind of talk. I don’t talk that way. My kids sure as heck will never talk that way and it’s hard because I love the man so much. Like I have family members that have done things, I’ve done things that I’m glad that I’m still loved.I think more than anything coach needs people help him, to love him in whatever areas that we can.

But at the same time, what’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong. I’ve never seen something like this happen and so you don’t know the precedent. I don’t know is he going to get suspended, is it a fine? I don’t know. I’m not good at figuring those kinds of things out. But when that came out, shortly after my wife sent it to me. I was getting ready studying and stuff, she sent it to me, I read it and about time I got done reading it, it was over, and he resigned. So, you could imagine there was a lot going on in my head and again I’ll probably get more into it someday about everything that went down for me, but again you all know I got a job to do.

And it wasn’t his fault that we didn’t play well on the field. We as players the last two weeks, we haven’t been good enough. So, that’s not on him. That’s on us. We got to play better this week and get a win, especially against a good defense.

Without Gruden here, how it can be different on the field?

Carr: Yeah, I think we’re going to Wing T, triple-option football, ball control. Just try and run the quarterback as much as we can in the middle. (laughter) I think there are things set in place with our offense. I’ve been with Oly [offensive coordinator Greg Olson]. My rookie year he called plays. I’ve heard his voice through the headset. I know how he calls the game and I know how he thinks. We’re in the same room.

Every conversation I had with Coach Gruden, I had with Oly this whole time and so us three and now Johnny Mo (senior offensive assistant John Morton), we were all together all the time. And so, it’s not going to be anything crazy new, but there are philosophies that some people have. So, I don’t want to give Oly’s secrets away, but could things be different? Yes. Could things be similar? Yes, absolutely. But if Denver is listening, we are probably just going to run the ball the whole time.

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1:30

Keyshawn Johnson looks back at his two years playing under Jon Gruden.

Defensive end Carl Nassib asked for a personal day. How are you guys handling that, knowing he’s going through something?

Carr: And you know how I meant that too. For that, I honestly just found out about that. We’re not in the same meeting room. If [tight end] Darren Waller is not in the room, I’m going to notice. He sits next to me. Whenever a defensive guy isn’t here or is hurt, I find out usually on Thursday or Friday, like ‘Oh man, are you alright?’ Especially when we are practicing when the defense is up, I’m throwing routes with my receivers. I’m not in it like that.

For Carl, from day one I told Carl I love him, and he knows I got his back. So, if anyone won’t talk to him, if anyone will mess with him, Carl knows that I have his back that’s for sure, and with that kind of stuff I’ll let Carl handle all that with the teammates and all that kind of stuff. I think Mr. [general manager Mike] Mayock said, he’s a population of one really. Like he has every right to feel the way he wants to feel, just like all of our teammates have every right to feel however they want to feel. That was the message for everyone today really, but at the same time with the mindset that we have a game to play, and we have to move on as hard as it is.

A lot has been made of your relationship with Gruden. It must be very surreal for you now that it’s over. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Carr: If I’m honest, that’s the hardest part for me and again there will be a time for those feelings to come out. Like I said, there is a sad feeling. There is anger. I’m human. I’ve done my best every year dealing with whatever you know what we have to deal with, and it is what it is. But I promise you someday we can talk about that.

I’m trying my best personally, honestly, just to make my mind focused on football as hard as it is, and I hope that makes sense and I’m trying to be respectful and answer it the best I can for you. But personally, I have to keep my mind as focused as I can or else I’ll start drifting and start feeling some type of way.

You have this unprecedented storm of adversity, and yet your team is good. Those two things usually don’t go together. How do you grasp that?

Carr: Well, I’ve been in this situation. I think it’s my fifth head coach in eight years, and so I do know the feelings of when it’s a good football team and when it’s not. And the feelings of when it’s not you get a lot of guys that are just coming to work, just counting the days kind of a thing. Whereas this team, the way we came in today everything is still out there for us. We are a good football team. We believe that. We need to play better, but we still believe that we can compete with anybody.

And so, it’s just a weird time. I think that’s the easiest way to say it, it’s a weird time but I know a little bit about compartmentalizing some things. My senior year, my son was having surgeries where doctors were saying he might not make it and I still had to play football games. Like, I don’t wish that for anybody but for whatever reason I’ve just had to go through some of those things, and this is one of those things where you just got to be able to separate the two. And it’s weird and it’s hard and I thank the Lord I can do it because I want to feel some type of way.

But we are a good football team and we do still have everything out in front of us and I think that I’m just trying to focus on what is good, and what is good for our football team is thinking about those things. Practice was great. It’s easier to do honestly when you are on the field. It’s easier to do when you’re in the meetings because that’s what you’re focused on, that’s where your mind is at. The hard part is when you’re outside of that not letting your mind wander.

Are you seeing what you want to see from your teammates to let you know that the team is going to be able to deal with this?

Carr: Yeah. I mean we’re definitely focused on football. Are conversations still happening? Absolutely. Another part of my job as a leader here is to make sure everybody is okay and I got to check on guys if I see a certain look on their face, make sure they are alright. ‘How do you feel about everything? You alright? Hey, I got your back man, whatever you need. 3 a.m., man, call me. I’ll be there.’ My kids are probably up anyways, or at least one of the seven (laughter).

I’m there for you. And so, there are those conversations, but as a whole the focus is on winning. We had great meetings; we had a great practice. Full of energy, competition was great. That part was good, but when you walk around and you sit at the meal room, it’s hard not to. It’s the biggest story in sports right now and that’s what we talk about.

You turn the TV on and that’s what’s on and you do your best to stay focused when it’s time to focus and all those kinds of things. But again, I’m just sad. I’m sad for the people that were hurt. I’m sad for coach. I’m sad for our organization. I’m sad for our fans. There is a lot of those feelings, but at the same time when it’s football time I thought we were really good. I am hearing and seeing the things that you want to hear when it is football time.

Are there times on the field that you notice Coach Gruden isn’t out there anymore?

Carr: Thankfully there was not too many mistakes today. There was no mistakes today. I don’t want to say no mistakes, there is always something. I had a feeling of when I hit the field, I was waiting for him to click in the headset and start talking to me. Make a joke, make me laugh. Get me going, fire me up. And it was Oly’s voice today and again thankfully that’s something I’m used to. Thankfully it’s something I heard before.

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1:27

Marcus Spears reacts to Jon Gruden’s resignation after reports of emails he wrote that contained offensive language.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the man, and you hate the sin. Like for anybody, no one is perfect. If we just started opening up everybody’s private emails and texts, people will start sweating a little bit. Hopefully not too many, but maybe that’s what they should do for all coaches and GMs and owners from now on. You got to open up everything and see what happens. But you hate the action, you hate it. You’re not supposed to like it, but you love the person. And I love the person. I’ve grown to love him so much.

We spent so much time together. We’ve been through so many battles. We’ve been through so many things together. He’s always had my back. He’s always been there for me, and I love his family. I love his wife. I love his kids. And I think that’s why it’s hard because he’s not around. It’s over. He’s not going to be around and that’s the hard part. That for me as a human being is the hardest part. As a football player, like I said, I got a job to do regardless of what’s going on. It was different with him not out there.

But long story short, you hate, you feel for everybody involved, but I will always be someone no matter who does what I’m going to love you. And if that’s wrong, then I’m okay being wrong. I’m going to try and build people up no matter what. That doesn’t make what they did right, but I’m always going to be there to try and be there on the next step, on the other side, to try and lift them back up and love them up again.

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NFL agrees to end race-based adjustments in dementia testing used to evaluate concussion claims

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PHILADELPHIA — The NFL agreed to end race-based adjustments in dementia testing that critics said made it difficult for Black retirees to qualify for awards in the $1 billion settlement of concussion claims, according to a proposed deal filed Wednesday in federal court.

The revised testing plan follows public outrage over the use of “race-norming,” a practice that came to light only after two former NFL players filed a civil rights lawsuit over it in 2019. The adjustments, critics say, may have prevented hundreds of Black players suffering from dementia to win awards that average $500,000 or more.

The Black retirees will now have the chance to have their tests rescored or, in some cases, seek a new round of cognitive testing, according to the settlement.

“No race norms or race demographic estimates — whether Black or white — shall be used in the settlement program going forward,” the settlement said.

The proposal, which must still be approved by a judge, follows months of closed-door negotiations between the NFL, class counsel for retired players, and lawyers for the Black players who filed suit, Najeh Davenport and Kevin Henry.

The vast majority of the league’s players — 70% of active players and more than 60% of living retirees — are Black. So the changes are expected to be significant, and potentially costly for the NFL.

To date, the fund has paid out $821 million for five types of brain injuries, including early and advanced dementia, Parkinson’s disease and Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as ALS.

Lawyers for the Black players suspect that white men were qualifying for awards at two or three times the rate of Black men. It’s unclear whether a racial breakdown of payouts will ever be done or made public.

Black NFL retiree Ken Jenkins and others have asked the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department to open an inquiry. The first payouts were awarded in 2017. The fund, now uncapped, is intended to last for 65 years, to cover anyone retired at the time it was first approved.

To date, about 2,000 men have applied for dementia awards, but only 30% have been approved. In some cases, the NFL appealed payouts awarded to Black men if doctors did not apply the racial adjustment. The new plan would forbid any challenges based on race.

“The NFL should be really enraged about the race norming. … That should be unacceptable to them and all of their sponsors,” Roxanne “Roxy” Gordon of San Diego, the wife of an impaired former player, said earlier this week.

Amon Gordon, a Stanford University graduate, finds himself at 40 unable to work. He has twice qualified for an advanced dementia award only to have the decision overturned for reasons that aren’t yet clear to them. His case remains on review before the federal appeals court in Philadelphia.

The NFL would admit no wrongdoing under terms of the new settlement.

The league had agreed in June, amid the uproar, to halt the use of race-norming, which assumes Black players start with lower cognitive function. That makes it harder to show they suffer from a mental deficit linked to their playing days.

The binary scoring system in dementia testing — one for Black people, one for everyone else — was developed by neurologists in the 1990s as a crude way to factor in a patient’s socioeconomic background. Experts say it was never meant to be used to determine payouts in a court settlement.

More than 20,000 NFL retirees or their relatives have registered for the settlement program, which offers monitoring, testing and, for some, compensation. The awards average $715,000 for those with advanced dementia and $523,000 for those with early dementia.

“If the new process eliminates race-norming and more people qualify, that’s great,” said Jenkins, who does not have an impairment but advocates for those who do.

“[But] we’re not going to get everything we wanted,” Jenkins, an insurance executive, said Tuesday. “We want full transparency of all the demographic information from the NFL — who’s applied, who’s been paid.”

Senior U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody, who has overseen the settlement for about a decade, dismissed the suit filed by Davenport and Henry this year on procedural grounds. But she later ordered the lawyers who negotiated the 2013 settlement — New York plaintiffs’ lawyer Christopher Seeger for the players and Brad Karp for the NFL — to work with a mediator to address it. In the meantime, the Gordons and other NFL families wait.

“His life is ruined,” Roxy Gordon said of her husband, who spent several years in the league as a defensive tackle or defensive end. “He’s a 40-year-old educated male who can’t even use his skills. It’s been horrible.”

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Tom Brady has no interest in claiming ownership of the New York Jets

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Being a New York Jets fan is likely tough enough without the added sting of Tom Brady throwing shade. But alas, throw shade he did. When presented with the opportunity to lay claim to the franchise, the 44-year-old politely declined.

On the latest episode of the “Let’s Go!” podcast with Brady, Larry Fitzgerald and Jim Gray, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback spent some time reminiscing on how nice it was getting to watch Sunday’s slate of NFL games (Tampa Bay defeated the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday Night Football).

One game stuck out to TB12 in particular — the Green Bay Packers vs. the Chicago Bears. Namely, when QB Aaron Rodgers proclaimed himself the owner of the team. After extending the Packers’ lead with a rushing TD in the 4th quarter, Rodgers found a loophole to the taunting rule by directing his chirping at the fans rather than the players, yelling, “I still own you!”

“I wanted to say congrats to Aaron Rodgers. Obviously, he’s a great QB but I guess he’s now a shareholder of the Bears,” Brady quipped to Gray.

But the real zinger came at the end of the video when Gray implied that because of the seven-time Super Bowl champion’s impressive record — Brady is 30-8 against the Jets — he could claim ownership of the New York team.

“Oh, no I’ll just take the color green. I don’t need the Jets,” TB12 said. “I’ll just own the color green, I think that’s a little bit better.”

You can take Brady out of New England, but you can’t take the New England Patriots out of Brady.



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Seattle Seahawks claim QB Jacob Eason off waivers with Russell Wilson still on IR

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The Seattle Seahawks claimed quarterback Jacob Eason on Wednesday, a day after he was waived by the Indianapolis Colts.

Eason joins his hometown team to bolster its quarterback depth while Russell Wilson recovers from finger surgery. With Wilson on injured reserve, the Seahawks now have Geno Smith and Eason on their 53-man roster as well as Jake Luton and Danny Etling on their practice squad.

A fourth-round pick out of Washington in 2020, Eason appeared in one game this season, completing 2 of 5 attempts for 25 yards and an interception while replacing an injured Carson Wentz in Week 2. He didn’t see the field as a rookie. The Colts waived him after activating rookie quarterback Sam Ehlinger off injured reserve.

Eason (Lake Stevens) and Luton (Marysville) are from neighboring towns north of Seattle. According to the Seahawks’ website, they played on the same flag football team as kids before facing each other in high school and college, Eason at UW and Luton at Oregon State.

Wilson has to miss at least two more games before he can return from IR. It’s not clear if the Seahawks plan to have Eason or Luton — who has more familiarity with their system — back up Smith in the meantime.

Luton, who was signed before the season opener, was elevated from the practice squad last weekend to back up Smith in Seattle’s overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. He’s since reverted back to the practice squad and can be elevated one more time before the Seahawks would have to sign him to their 53-man roster in order to have him available to play.

The Seahawks had an open roster spot after waiving cornerback Tre Flowers last week and thus did not need to make a corresponding move to fit Eason.

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