ALAMEDA – Raiders quarterback Derek Carr opened his Wednesday press conference on a somber note.
Carr offered some kind words about former teammate George Atkinson III, who died Tuesday at age 27. Atkinson III, the son of Raiders great George Atkinson II, spent three short stints with the Silver and Black and was part of the team's active roster during the 2014 season.
Carr and Atkinson III were part of the same rookie class and got to know each other during that time. Atkinson III also bounced around the league some and was last part of an NFL organization in 2018.
His twin brother Josh Atkinson committed suicide in Dec. 2019, and George III admitted feeling depression in a first-person account detailing his family's struggle with mental health, which can be read right here.
Atkinson II has been with the Raiders a ton this season as an ambassador and in an advisory role. The Silver and Black have a strong attachment to their alumni, so Atkinson III's death has hit the franchise hard.
"I just wanted to send our prayers to Mr. Atkinson," Carr said. "George III was a teammate of mine. It's crazy how quick life can come at you. I love George III. We had a lot of fun playing basketball at 24-Hour Fitness as well as playing football games together and competing together. He was always so joyful and so happy. He got cut and re-signed a whole bunch of times. Every single time he looked so thankful to be here. I just wanted to say that we're thinking about him and family, and that we love him."
Carr was asked if he saw any signs of trouble during interactions with Atkinson III in previous seasons, and nothing came to mind.
"I would have never guessed that he was struggling that hard," Carr said. "I know things had happened in the year prior that could make you hurt. Every time I was around George III, I never would've thought he was hurting that much. Every time I was around him, he was full of happiness, full of joy."