Tollefson brings championship pedigree back to Raiders


Tollefson brings championship pedigree back to Raiders

Dave Tollefson was channeling his inner Lloyd Christmas during a conference call with Bay Area media on Tuesday afternoon.The newest Raiders defensive lineman, signed as a free agent on Saturday after five years and two Super Bowl rings with the New York Giants, was asked how his championship pedigree would rub off on his new teammates.RELATED: Signing with Raiders homecoming for Tollefson
"I don't know much, but there's a few things I do know," Tollefson said after a brief pause. "And one of them is getting in the tournament. I mean, you've got to have a chance. If you're not in the tournament -- which is playoffs when I say that -- you don't have a chance."I always like to quote my favorite movie "Dumb and Dumber," when he was asking what are the chances a girl like (you) and a guy like (me) can be together and she says, 'One in a million.'"The character of Christmas, played by Jim Carey in the 1994 film, was anything but crestfallen."And Jim Carey says, 'So you're saying there's a chance,'" Tollefson recounted with a laugh. "Just to have the opportunity to play for the title and get in the playoffs, that's all you need. And then you take it one game at a time and next thing you know you're hoisting up the Lombardi Trophy. There's no secret to winning championships. It's just a matter of doing the work and when it comes to playoff time, taking advantage of the opportunities."In Gotham, the Walnut Creek native who grew up in Concord and played at Ygnacio Valley High was a role player, of sorts, on the Giants' fearsome defensive line. Drafted by Green Bay in the seventh round (No. 253 overall) of the 2006 draft out of Northwest Missouri State and later being a member of the Raiders' practice squad, Tollefson played behind and alongside some of the game's best at the position and contributed his own flavor.Michael Strahan. Osi Umenyiora. Justin Tuck."It's huge, man." Tollefson said. "To be the best, you've got to be around the best, you've got to be surrounded by people that are successful in order for yourself to be successful. So being with those group of guys for that period of time was really special."I just got here (to Oakland) today, my first workout in today, but there's a group of guys here that can play ball up front, too, which is exciting to see. I'm not quite an old, wily vet yet. I've got a few years left in me. I think I've seen quite a bit in this league and they got a group of guys here that can do some big things also. I look back fondly on my time with those guys (in New York). It was special, for sure, but you can't dwell on the past. You've got to keep going forward and make the future."The 6-foot-4, 266-pound Tollefson has started just two of the 62 career games in which he's played and he's not expected to replace either Lamarr Houston or a physically-healed Matt Shaughnessy in the starting lineup. Rather, he's expected to provide a boost off the bench and on special teams.Last season, Tollefson, 29, played in all 16 regular season games with the two starts and had career highs in tackles (21) and sacks (five). In his career, he has 81 tackles (56 solo), with 10 sacks, five passes defensed and three forced fumbles.RELATED: Dave Tollefson 2011 game logs
So what does he anticipate his on-field role being in Oakland?"You know, I think it's the multiplicitywhat I can do as a player," he said. "I played a lot of snaps inside. Will I do that here? I'm not quite sure. We've got a great groups of D tackles that can do a really good job inside. So I think that's what intrigued the Raiders about me, just the ability to do anything. And that's something that you have to do as a guy that hasn't necessarily started in this league."I've started a couple of games but you kind of got to be good at everything because you really don't know when an opportunity's going to come for you to contribute to a team winning a game. So I think that's what, hopefully, they're going to use me for. Just kind of, whatever, what do you need me to do? I can even mow the grass if you want to."Rather, the Raiders would prefer he mow down opposing running backs.The Raiders' run defense has been an Achilles' heel in recent years. Last season, the Raiders ranked 27th against the run, giving up 136.1 yards per game on the ground. The Giants, meanwhile, were 19th, with a 121.2 average."You've got to be physical and I think sometimes run defense can be overshadowed by a want to get sacks because that's considered to be such game-changing plays," Tollefson said. "But I'm always thinking you've got earn the right to rush the passer and the way you do that is by stopping the run. That's going to be a focus of mine no matter what, and I think it will be the guys' (focus) up front."You've got to do it up front and obviously the linebackers are named linebackers because they back the line. If the guys up front aren't getting the job done, it doesn't matter who you have behind you. It's definitely going to be a focus of ours -- stop the run -- because if you can't stop the run you better not even start thinking about getting sacks, because they'll just run the ball all day on you."

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.”