Defensive end Andre Carter was a Pro Bowler for New England in 2011. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
At 33, Andre Carter is near the end of his NFL career, but the Raiders figure the NFL veteran still has the ability to rush the passer.
The Raiders announced they re-signed the defensive end – along with free-agent safety Usama Young, formerly of the Browns – Tuesday.
Though Carter likely won’t be a starter in 2013, he could be a valuable situational pass rusher. The veteran, who has 78½ career sacks, ranks eighth among active sack leaders and had 2 ½ last season in a reserve role, appearing in 12 games for Oakland after signing during the season. He also had eight quarterback hurries and five quarterback hits in 170 pass rushing snaps, according to Pro Football Focus.
ESPN reported Carter was signed to a one-year contract for an undisclosed amount.
Carter is familiar to Bay Area fans, having grown up in San Jose and played for Cal. He was a first-round pick of the 49ers in 2001 and played five seasons for the 49ers before moving on to Washington and New England, where he had 10 sacks as recently as 2011 before an injury prompted the Patriots to release him.
In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle’s Vic Tafur, Carter said he’s grateful for the Raiders bringing him back for 2013, and believes he started to regain his form last season and can help make the Raiders a better defensive unit in 2013.
“For them to see that (his return to being effective) and bring me back, they believed in me and believed I still had a lot left in the tank, not only from a player standpoint, but from a leader standpoint,” Carter said. “Taking that leadership into the locker room, teaching the younger guys how it’s done, what it takes to be a professional, not just from a football standpoint, but just life in general because this game is never promised. One play could be your last. I’ve been very fortunate to play for a long period of time.”
As it stands now, Carter would likely back up defensive ends Lamarr Houston and Jason Hunter – plus an additional defensive end that might be acquired in the draft.
Carter was named to the Pro Bowl in 2011, but a torn quadriceps ended his season prematurely and eventually led to his release in New England. But after signing with Oakland in late September, he showed flashes of his ability to get to the quarterback – something the Raiders desperately need.
Last season, after being activated and getting a chance to play again, Carter felt a resurgence. Obviously, the Raiders liked what they saw and were able to make a low-cost move to retain him.
“I felt like a new kid in school,” Carter said last season after finally getting a chance to play again. “It’s all great. I felt like I haven’t lost a step.”