Derek Carr: Uncertainty over Raiders' stadium in 2019 'crazy'

ByPaul Gutierrez ESPN logo
Thursday, December 13, 2018

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- It has been an eventful three days for quarterback Derek Carr and hisOakland Raidersteammates.

The team got its biggest win of the season on Sunday, against the Pittsburgh Steelersat home. A day later, general manager Reggie McKenzie was fired. And then on Tuesday, the city of Oakland announced it had filed a federal lawsuit against the Raiders and the NFL.

The suit might lead the Raiders, who do not have a lease to play anywhere in 2019 and are moving to Las Vegas in 2020, to leave Oakland a year early. At the NFL owners meetings in Dallas on Wednesday, team president Marc Badain said the Raiders' $7.5 million lease proposal to the city for one final season in the Oakland Coliseum is off the table in the wake of the lawsuit.

Still, Raiders owner Mark Davis said "everything is an option."

That did not give Carr much comfort, not with so much change so early in his career. Carr has had four head coaches -- Dennis Allen, Tony Sparano, Jack Del Rio and Jon Gruden -- since being drafted in 2014.

"It's crazy, man," Carr said Wednesday. "My brother [David] warned me about stuff like this, because he played for 12 years. I was like, 'No, man, when you get here it's just rainbows and butterflies because you made it to the NFL.' All of a sudden, you get new friends every year.

"I've had like 27 different people in the locker next to me in five years. It just shows you how tough this business is."

Indeed, only eight of McKenzie's 50 pre-Gruden draft picks from 2012 through 2017 are on the team's 53-man roster; 37 players did not play a single snap for the Raiders last season.

"Not only in the last five years, but in the last 12 months, there has been a lot of turnover," Carr said. "A lot of different things -- systems, players, obviously the GM, coaches. It just teaches you that you can't control anything outside of what you can control. The best thing that you can do is show up every day and give it everything that you have, because anything outside of that is out of your control."

Oakland's suit against the Raiders, the NFL and the other 31 clubs does not seek to block the team's move. It is attempting to get compensation and damages for revenue that it will lose, money that has been invested in the Coliseum by Oakland taxpayers and other costs. The city still has $80 million in debt remaining from renovations to the much-maligned Coliseum. The suit claims that the Raiders and the NFL violated federal antitrust laws when they voted to move to Las Vegas.

Davis had said he would not play in Oakland if a lawsuit ever were filed, and on Wednesday, Badain made good on that, pulling the Raiders' Coliseum lease proposal for 2019 off the table.

Talk about a potentially wild scene under the East Bay lights.

"That is crazy, and to me that seems weird," Carr said. "It just seems different to even have to think that way, because I've spent five years playing in this stadium."

The Coliseum has housed the Raiders from 1966 through 1981 and from 1995 until now. It also has dealt with raw sewage problems in flooding theOakland Athletics' clubhouse; a skunk getting loose in the stadium's concourse after this season's Monday night opener and then meeting its demise; and two dead mice being found in the press box soda machine following last weekend's game. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger blamed an old X-ray machine on the grounds for delaying his return from injury to Sunday's game.

"We've had people talking trash about [the Coliseum], or whatever they want, but I love it," Carr said. "It's ours. It's been fun. And the fact that it could be the last [game] is crazy. But when that time comes, we will enjoy it."

Carr said he would approach the uncertainty as he did following his senior season at Fresno State, where he prepared for the NFL draft.

"It's kind of like when you are leaving college -- you don't know where you are going to be. Good thing is [now I] have experience, you know what team you are going to be on. You know who your coach is going to be, and you know the system already.

"Just, where you are going to play your home games? That's just weird, and it's nothing anyone wants to go through. There is no book on how to do this. I'll figure it out the best way I can, day by day."

The Raiders will host one of five international games again in 2019, though it is not known yet whether it will be in London (where the Raiders were the home team in 2014 and this season) or in Mexico City (where they played host in 2016 and '17).

The Raiders' home opponents next season are the Jaguars, Titans, Bears, Lions, the AFC North team that finishes in the same place in its division as the Raiders do in the AFC West, Chiefs, Broncos and Chargers.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday at the owners meetings that the league needed to know where the Raiders would play their home games by early February, at the latest, to help set the 2019 schedule.

Davis would not comment specifically on potential one-year homes for the Raiders in 2019, but he did rule out San Antonio. Other cities thought to be in the running include: San Diego; Reno, Nevada; and Glendale, Arizona. Oakland, though, has not been completely ruled out yet, either.

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