Jim Plunkett reflects on Al Davis


Jim Plunkett reflects on Al Davis

Is there a way to put into words not only what Al Davis meant to the NFL but to you on a personal level?
"We've been friends for a long time, he's meant a lot to me and my family -- he's been very good to us in a lot of different ways -- both on the field for me and off the field for me and my family. I can't say enough about that. People don't look at that side of Mr. Davis. He's the guy who gave me another opportunity when I was almost out of football -- well, actually I was, when I signed with the Raiders, put me in a position to help him win two Super Bowls, have some exciting, winning seasons Mr. Davis and his family has meant a lot to us. "

From the personal perspective, was there ever anybody like him, in terms of pro football and as a person in general?

"Not that I've met personally. I sit with him each and every week, either at home, at the Coliseum or on the road. And I learn something every time I sit down with him, either about personnel or about tactics, about philosophy, about who can do what out there on the football field. When either team started to line up on the line of scrimmage, before the offense was set he could almost tell you the next play because he studies it so vigorously and he knows what was coming from each and every formation. It was a lot of fun. The past few games, you missed him sorely, not being in the box, being able to talk to him and gleaning that kind of information from the man who literally knew it all. People disagreed with him on many occasions but that's to be expected. He liked to do things his way and he usually did."
From a player's perspective, in terms of the opportunities he gave to women and minorities in the NFL, is that even measurable, the effect he had on the social side of the game?
"That's another impact that he had on the National Football League, bringing in minorities and women into a men-only football environment. That's not to be overlooked by any means. Even me, when I came back to the Raiders, he encouraged me, he said I liked you ever since you were at Stanford, and we're glad you're with us. If you have any questions, day or night, don't hesitate to give me a call. And believe me, he would call me late at night at home to see what I was thinking about for a particular game. He was 24-7 football and nobody, I don't think, can appreciate that as much if you didn't know a person like that. He loved football."

You're always going to be linked with him, you won two Super Bowls with him.
"He gave me the opportunity and once you get the opportunity you have to take advantage with it. Fortunately, I did. I'm just sorry in '82 and '85 when I got hurt not (to be able) to possibly try for another Super Bowl. I didn't play as well as I think I could have. In certain situations I felt I let him down a little bit. But to help him win two more Super Bowls, it was good for him and the Raiders and it was certainly good for me."

Your lasting impression of him?
"He's a man who will be sorely missed, not only by his former players and coaches, but by the entire league and by football fans as well."

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 might 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 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 him.

“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.”