Gutierrez: SeaBass kickin' it in his 12th season

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Gutierrez: SeaBass kickin' it in his 12th season

Aug. 25, 2011GUTIERREZ ARCHIVE
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Paul Gutierrez
CSNCalifornia.comNAPA -- Arizona seems like such a long time ago now, even if the scab can still be picked at.It was on Sept. 26 of last year, in the air-conditioned and controlled environment of University of Phoenix Stadium, when Sebastian Janikowski went off the rails. The Raiders' all-time leading scorer, possessor of the strongest leg in the NFL, did the unthinkable in missing three gimme field goals. The last shank the most painful of all, a 32-yarder that sailed wide left as time expired, sending the Raiders back to Oakland on the wrong end of a 24-23 outcome.
"Obviously, I didn't know him as well then," mused rookie head coach Hue Jackson, who was then in his third game as the Raiders offensive coordinator. "But I know him now. I know he's beyond all that and he's a tremendous asset to this organization and this football team."He should be. The man known in the streets of Silver and Blackdom as "SeaBass" has scored 1,142 career points and is coming off a single-season franchise record of 142 points in 2010.And still, the specter of Arizona hangs like the football on one of his powerful kickoffs.Consider: in the Raiders' exhibition opener against those very same Cardinals at the O.co Coliseum on Aug. 11, Janikowski's opening kickoff split the uprights on the northern goal posts. So with the NFL moving kickoffs up to the 35-yard line, that would have been a 75-yard field goal.RELATED: Sebastian Janikowski 2010 game logs
"Yeah," Janikowski said with a sheepish smile, "but that was off the tee."Of course, a thousand times of course, and there was no snap to navigate, or laces for the holder to turn outward."Yeah, but I hit the sweet spot," Janikowski relented. "If I hit the sweet spot, over time it should go 10 yards deep(er). No problem."The sweetest spots he's ever hit in a game came on Dec. 27, 2009, when he nailed a 61-yarder in the elements of Cleveland for the third-longest field goal in league history.On Oct. 19, 2008 at the Coliseum, his 57-yarder to beat the New York Jets and set an NFL record for longest overtime field goal.Since being taken as the Raiders' surprising first-round draft choice in 2000 out of Florida State, Janikowski has led Oakland in scoring in each of his 11 seasons and his career field goal percentage of 78.7 (229 of 292) is the highest in franchise history. He has also missed only three of his career 316 point-after attempts.But coming into this season, the buzz on Janikowski was generated by the league's mandate to move up the kickoffs, a decision based on player safety, what with purportedly fewer high speed collisions."I liked it," Janikowski said of the rule. "I mean, (there's) going to be a lot of more touchbacks in the league, so hopefully it will help the team."Which begs the question - does Janikowski always want to kick the ball deep into the end zone?"It depends on the coach and situation," he said. "Sometimes you want to kick it as high as you can, just land it two-, three-(yards) deep so we can maybe tackle (the returner) inside the 10-yard line."His 29 touchbacks last season set a career high and ranked second in the NFL, so you get the feeling that if he wanted to, he could kick it out of the end zone every time, no?"Pretty much," Janikowski said with a shrug. "It's going to be a good percentage."Early in his career, SeaBass was seen as a hell-raiser, in the most earnest of Raider ways. Now 33 years old, he is a much more calm figure.He reported to camp with a much leaner physique. Listed at 6-foot-2, 250 pounds (he says he's actually "260, 258"), his upper body now resembles that of a mixed martial artist."Yeah, worked out a little bit more," he said. "Getting older, so you've got to lift (weights) more. Take care of my body a little bit better."(I) just feel better, definitely."The lockout gave Janikowski time to reflect on a career that begin in the final days of the Clinton Administration. As well as just, well, chill out."My golf game improved," he said with a laugh.As has his distance.Wednesday, he treated VIP fans in attendance to the power of his left leg.RELATED: Raiders Report (824): Janikowski shows off boot
With a field-goal defense facing him, Janikowski drilled what would have been an NFL-record 64-yard field goal with room to spare (the record of 63 yards is shared by Tom Dempsey and Jason Elam).Moved five yards back, Janikowski's 69-yarder fell short and wide right.Four days earlier, though, he made a 70-yarder."Just messing around," Janikowski said. "I was feeling good."Said Jackson: "I've been around four other teams and I've never seen a guy kick a ball like that. It's not like he's taking a running start. The guy takes two steps and, Boom, there goes the ball."

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.”