Campbell comfortable in own skin


Campbell comfortable in own skin

ALAMEDA -- For what seemed an eternity, Jason Campbell tugged at Nnamdi Asomugha's ear in a semi-secluded area of the Raiders' locker room.Confused. Angered. Embarrassed.Sure, Campbell had to be feeling all of those emotions. At once.Wasn't he the one the Raiders traded for to bring some sanity under center in the wake of the disastrous JaMarcus Russell episode? No one had ever questioned Campbell's work ethic, his leadership.And yet, here he was, figuratively being talked off the ledge by Asomugha, who had seen his share of weirdness over the years in Silver and Blackdom. Campbell had been pulled at halftime of his home debut as Oakland's quarterback. In his second game with the team after being acquired in a 2010 draft weekend trade with Washington.Heading into his second home opener, it's amazing how quickly things have changed for Campbell, who no longer has to look over his shoulder after every incompletion. This, without a doubt, is his team."Definitely," he said. "I felt that way last year, until early in the season. You get pulled that early, it will kind of stall you for a little bit. But at the same time, I moved past that and once I got back in there, I have always felt that way since then."That's my standpoint. It's exciting to lead this team. We are a young team in a lot of areas, but we're also an exciting football team that is trying to go places, and I am just glad to be in the position to lead these guys."Keep in mind that current head coach Hue Jackson, then the offensive coordinator, actually endorsed the benching of Campbell against the St. Louis Rams in favor of Bruce Gradkowski. Then remember how badly then-coach Tom Cable mismanaged the situation until Gradkowski was shut down for good with a bum shoulder late in the season.SInce then, with no need to worry about getting yanked for a fan favorite, Campbell has been on a roll. He has a 97.3 passer rating in the seven games since reclaiming the gig while completing 64.9 percent of his passes with nine touchdowns and three interceptions."He's a great quarterback," offered Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis. "He can make all the throws. He has a strong arm. He can probably throw the ball 100 yards."Revis giggled, presumably at his own hyperbole."I mean, he has a big arm, he can make plays outside the pocket well," Revis continued. "So, you know, I have high respect for Jason Campbell."Jets coach Rex Ryan remembered scouting Campbell in 2005 when he was coming out of Auburn."I just see a guy that has a bazooka for an arm," Ryan said. "He can make all the throws. I rememberhe was sitting on a knee and threw the ball like 60 yards, and I was like, 'Golly.'"He has that kind of arm talent, he really does. He's got some mobility and now he's been in the league a long time, so I think he's at his best right now. This is probably the best I've seen of Jason Campbell."In two games this season, Campbell has a 99.7 passer rating in completing 65.5 percent of his passes, with three touchdowns and one interception, the Hail Mary into the end zone last week in Buffalo to end the game.He has an 83.1 rating for his career."Jason Campbell is as fine a quarterback as there in this league," Jackson insisted, "but his true measure is going to be winning and losing games. That was a tough one last week. He has to come out and go get after it this week. We got a very good opponent in our stadium, and he has to go play well."Campbell is 4-3 in his last seven games, and engineered the Raiders' near come-from-behind act in Buffalo through the air for a pair of scores when the run game stalled.And that went against the book on him throughout his career -- solid if unspectacular. He won't win many games for you, but he won't lose many on his own either."It's heartbreaking," Campbell said of the 38-35 loss to the Bills. "You look at it a day after the game, two days later, but at the same time you have to be able to put it behind you and move forward. I've been in games like that, at least four or five in my career, that happened like that and ended up pretty much the same way."It's tough because if you win that game, everyone is like, 'Oh, what a great comeback.' You lose that game, shove it out the window. Thats pretty much how it is."Especially for a guy finally comfortable in his own skin in Oakland.

Carr plans to spread new wealth after Raiders contract extension

Carr plans to spread new wealth after Raiders contract extension

ALAMEDA – Derek Carr isn’t one for extravagance. The low-key Raiders quarterback already has some nice cars, a house and some luxury items to his name, but signing a $125 million contract extension Friday morning won't prompt a spending spree.

Cornerback Sean Smith suggested he get a Bugatti. That’s a $1 million car.

“Yeah,” Carr said with a smirk. “That’s not going to happen.”

That isn’t the 26-year old’s style. Carr had a his own plan after signing on the dotted line.

“I’ve been eating clean,” Carr said. “I’ll probably get Chick-fil-A.”

That makes sense. This is a guy who celebrated his first NFL victory with a trip through a Carl’s Jr. drive-in.

There will be other purchases. His wife Heather will get something nice in the near future. His family, especially Heather and sons Dallas and Deker, will be taken care of for life.

After all that, Carr plans to spread the wealth.

“The exciting thing for me moneywise, honestly, is this money is going to help a lot of people,” Carr said. “I’m very thankful to have it, that it’s in our hands because it’s going to help people. Not only in this country, but in a lot of countries around the world. That’s what’s exciting to me.”

Carr and former Raiders running back Latavius Murray took a missionary trip to Haiti, an impoverished nation had a profound impact on the star quarterback.

“I’ve been down to Haiti and I’ve seen some of those struggles that they have and the kids there, and my heart just… I cry sometimes thinking about it,” Carr said. “So, just knowing that we can go down there and make a difference and help, those are the kind of things that the money makes me kind of like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ Because now we can really do some things to help a lot of people.”

He plans to support those in that area, in addition to global and domestic charities he has been involved with over the years. Don’t expect a press release accompanying every donation. Carr would rather keep those decisions private.

“I’m going to do my best to make sure no one knows what we do with it,” Carr said. “I’ll just say this, I can assure you that it’s going to help a lot of people. I’m not stingy. My business manager will probably be on me saying, ‘Hey man, that’s enough.’ I won’t get into when, how or why. It’s not all about that for me. It’s about making a difference. That’s what’s exciting for me is that we’ll be able to do that.”

Carr didn't want to 'take every single dime,' handcuff Raiders long-term

Carr didn't want to 'take every single dime,' handcuff Raiders long-term

ALAMEDA – Raiders quarterback Derek Carr signed a five-year contract extension Friday morning that will pay him $25 million in 2017 and $125 million over the life of the deal.

That’s a lot of scratch. Could’ve been more.

Carr received life-changing money. He didn’t want to handcuff the Raiders front office in the process.

“I just wanted to be a Raider,” Carr said Friday in a press conference. “It’s more than just a team to me. It’s family. The way it went down, it was easy. Both sides wanted it to get done, and it was about family members figuring out to get along. We figured out a way to do it so that we have the opportunity to sign other guys who are important to this organization. That was really important to me, not to just take every single dime that we could”

That list is long but it starts with homegrown talents Gabe Jackson and Khalil Mack. Jackson is up next, and could get locked up before the regular season starts. The Raiders have some time on Mack – his contract doesn’t expire until after 2018 – and Amari Cooper should be a keeper on down the road.

“The bottom line is we’re able to continue to move forward with it, keep all the players that we need to keep in the correct timing,” Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “This affords us to do that. We’re going to start on that ASAP.”

Carr got the deal he wanted. The 26-year old found market value and upped the ante for NFL quarterbacks a smidge while deferring some cash payouts – his big-time bonuses are broken up over two years -- to create windows of financial flexibility to sign other players. Carr’s percentage of the salary cap should decrease over time and won’t become an insurmountable burden to his employers. His deal won’t prevent the Raiders from keeping Jackson, Mack, Amari Cooper in time, or other vital veterans in house.

With Carr locked up, the McKenzie can work deals and the timing of them around his centerpiece.

Carr understands the NFL business and his role in the market, but he wants to maintain a competitive window as best he can and understands other guys will draw huge paychecks in the near future.

He’s scheduled to draw the NFL’s largest sum next season. A record $25 million is headed his way, though that total will decrease a bit in time and will certainly he surpassed by Matthew Stafford and possibly Kirk Cousins in the near future.

“I don’t care if they all do. We got our contract done, that’s all that matters to me,” Carr said. “The other thing that was important to me is that we didn’t worry about what other people were going to do or doing. I just wanted to get mine done and make sure that the team had, again like we talked about, flexibility to make sure my friends stay around.”

Carr was intimately involved in the negotiation process. Both sides said it was easy, wrapped up well before Carr’s training-camp contract deadline. Common ground was found in short shrift once talks warmed up – preliminary talks started months ago -- and a deal was ironed out that produced smiles on both sides once the deal was formally done.

Even after taking a relatively soft-line stance on dollars and the timing of payments – Carr could’ve been difficult all year and eventually forced a franchise tag – he’s still the league’s highest-paid player. His salary will now be compared with his stats. He was a second-round draft steal before. Now he’s a big-money player. In short, expectations will rise.

Carr insists it won’t add pressure to next year’s proceedings.

“You could give me a dollar, you could give me $25 million, it doesn’t matter,” Carr said. “To me, my No. 1 goal is to make sure that I give everything that I have to this organization. There’s no pressure. There’s no we’ll be on the 1-yard line and I won’t give it to Marshawn (Lynch), I’ll throw it. None of that stuff. I don’t care about the stats. That’s not my No. 1 objective. I don’t care if I throw 10 touchdowns next year. If we win every game, that’s all I care about.”