Gutierrez: Boss, Bush, key to offensive success

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Gutierrez: Boss, Bush, key to offensive success

Aug. 6, 2011GUTIERREZ ARCHIVE
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Paul Gutierrez
CSNCalifornia.comNAPA -- They couldn't be anymore different. From their physical characteristics to their football acumen to their job descriptions.And yet, running back Michael Bush and tight end Kevin Boss might very well jointly hold the key to the Raiders' early-season offensive success.That both made their 2011 training camp debuts on Saturday only adds to the intrigue, especially with Bush showing up three days after Darren McFadden suffered a fractured eye orbital bone and Boss replacing Zach Miller, the most consistent offensive threat the Raiders have had the past three years after he left for Seattle.Bush, of course, is a familiar face. He's been in Silver and Blackdom since 2007, a "damaged goods" fourth-round draft choice from Louisville who did not play a down that first season as he still recovered from a broken right leg suffered in the Cardinals' 2006 season opener.And therein sat the drama.WIth Bush maintaining a media moratorium this offseason -- one that included an arrest for suspicion of DUI -- speculation grew that he was not happy being classified a third-year player. That he wanted to be a fourth-year vet to reap the financial rewards of the new CBA that had such players becoming unrestricted free agents. Especially since he had not signed his first- and third-round tenders.So 10 days after he could have reported to camp with his teammates, and five days before he would have had to report, lest he be labeled a hold-out, Bush insisted there were no issues. In fact, he was within his rights to report when he did in this most unusual of offseasons, thanks to the lockout and shortened signing period."It's a business part of it," Bush said, explaining why Saturday was his personal D-Day for showing up in Wine Country. "I think it was just best for me to come in at this time instead of stretching it out. I just came in. The sooner I got here, the better I can get in the playbook and the better I can move forward."Rarely has he shown better dance moves on the field.Still, Bush said he never entertained any other offers -- the price would have been too steep for teams in such a rushed time frame, he said -- and signed the one-year tender, worth a reported 2.6 million. He did, however, say he was looking to talk long-term deal with the Raiders when the time is right."I was never a free agent," Bush said. "I had no intention of coming into the season thinking I was a free agent because, bottom line, my first year, I didn't play."I pretty much knew I'd be back here again."If only the Raiders fans had been so confident, right?Because while there is no doubt McFadden is the Raiders' electric lead back, he's hurt and out for at least two weeks. And Bush, who suffered a broken left thumb in the exhibition season last year and missed two regular season games, brings the thunder.He ran for a career-high 655 yards and a career-best eight touchdowns in 2010 and in the season finale at Kansas City, with McFadden out, Bush rumbled for 137 yards on 25 carries. He also caught four passes that frozen day.Which is why his showing up in good shape -- not football shape, mind you -- was good news for the Raiders. Even if he only carried the ball in live drills a handful of times."I felt like I hadn't been playing football for a while," he joked. "But it's O.K. I'll get it back."He won't, however, regain the feeling of Miller and Nnamdi Asomugha as teammates in Oakland."I kind of knew the Nnam situation," Bush said, "but it was more strange not seeing Zach."Enter Boss.At 6-feet-7, Boss is two inches taller than Miller, though he is not as thick in his upper body.He too, though, hit the ground running as Boss practiced in live drills. He made a nice catch in traffic once, but also jumped off sides another time."Kind of learn under fire," Boss said, describing his first practice. "It's maybe the best way, actually, just kind of throw you in there. You hear (the play) called in the huddle and try to process it as quick as you can."It's coming along, and tomorrow will be great to spend some time in the playbook and really get ahead of this thing."The Raiders have invested a reported four-year, 16-million contract in Boss, who has a Super Bowl ring with the New York Giants and has caught 119 passes in his four-year career for 1,600 yards and 18 touchdowns.Boss said defensive line coach Mike Waufle, who was with him in New York when the Giants beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, was the first person associated with the Raiders to call him.Sounds like Tom Cable dialing up Miller from Seattle, right?But I digress. Boss visited Napa on Wednesday and worked out for the Raiders before heading back to New York to talk with the Giants on Thursday. Friday morning, the deal with Oakland was announced and Saturday, Boss and his surgically-repaired hip, which he says is 100 percent, were on the practice field.Right next to Bush."It's exciting," Boss said. "Whenever you have two backs like (Bush and McFadden) you're blocking for, it makes it exciting. You want to spring that key block that puts them in the end zone. It's going to be a lot of fun to have those two backs."No doubt, Bush feels the same about Boss. At least, he should.

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.”