The Raiders’ season ended in the first round of the playoffs with a loss to the Houston Texans.
But, really, it ended on Christmas Eve, when quarterback Derek Carr went crashing down with a broken ankle. Without Carr, the Raiders’ offense was a shell of itself, limping to consecutive losses to the Broncos and Texans after going 12-3 with Carr.
Now Carr – who was an NFL MVP candidate – says it was painful to see his teammates start their playoff quest without him.
“It was very hard on me because not only do I feel like I’m blessed to play this game, not only do I love all my teammates, my coaches and all those things, I just love playing football,” he told syndicated radio host Colin Cowherd Thursday. “Ever since I was a kid, as I got better as I got stronger, I began to fall in love with the game. When I’d have to sit there on my couch, the other part was not being able to go to games, that was awful because I was sitting on my couch thinking, ‘Oh, maybe if we go to the Super Bowl I’d be able to hobble out there.’ The hardest part for me was sitting there.”
Carr had by far the best of his three NFL seasons in 2016, posting a quarterback rating of 96.7 after ratings of 76.6 as a rookie and 91.1 in 2015. He completed 63.8 percent of his throws for 3,937 yards, 28 TDs and just six interceptions and was sacked just 16 times.
Carr says rehabilitation is going well and he’ll be “ready to go real soon.”
Carr was a second-round pick in 2014, but Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie said this week that he knew Carr was something special after watching and interviewing him at the Senior Bowl in January of that year.
“The one thing that you saw on tape, it showed up down here (at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.) when he came down, and that was the quick release, the mobility that he had, the arm could throw it anywhere on the field. But first and foremost, you got to know the person.”