The Raiders re-signed veteran defensive end Andre Carter on Tuesday. He originally signed with the team in the middle of last season. Now the 13-year NFL defensive end will get to continue his career in the Bay Area, where it started.
Shortly after he re-signed with the team, I got the opportunity to speak with him over the phone. Here is the transcript of that conversation:
What does it mean to you to continue your career in the Bay Area with the Raiders?
"Aw man, it means so much. As you know I started my football career at Oak Grove High School in San Jose and went to Cal, went to the 49ers and of course I played with other teams but it all comes full circle. It started in the Bay so it's a great opportunity to be back in the Bay and be back with an organization that's trying to turn things around and be an elite team again. So, in general, I'm very grateful."
The way you feel right now, how many years would you like to play from this point forward?
"(laughs) Everybody always asks me that. One of my old vet friends told me ‘if you can go for ten, go for five more'. I just take it one year at a time. Everything is always based upon the individual - how you feel? Can you wake up and do it again week after week? That's just something that I've been taught in the league since day one so I just take it one day at a time. This season will be 13 for me and I'm just taking it all in stride."
What was your feeling about how the Raiders defense finished last season and your role in it?
"In general we has some struggles in the beginning but toward the end we came along strong. We were communicating really well, we were making plays, we weren't giving up as much yardage as we were in the beginning. Like any scheme it takes time. When you're dealing with a lot of younger guys that are just kind of maybe unsure of themselves or just unsure of the scheme. We just continued to talk and communicate and toward the end as you could see it was very productive. That was just something that was a stepping stone as far as our development and we just continued this from then on.
"As far as myself, I appreciate the Raiders organization for putting me in especially off a major injury. Then toward the end I started to come back to my own to how I played through the 2011 before I got hurt. For them to see that and bring me back, they believed in me and believed I still had a lot left in the tank from a players standpoint but from a leader standpoint, to bring that leadership into the locker room, teaching the other guys how it's done, what it takes to be a professional, not just from a football standpoint but just life in general. Any one play could be your last. I've been very fortunate to play for a long period of time and I pray that the young guys I take under my wing have long careers as well."
Was it your feeling this off-season the Raiders were going to bring you back?
"I was optimistic. I knew there was going to be a lot of changes after last season. But I was optimistic just talking to coach DA, Jason Tarver and later on talking to Reggie McKenzie, I think we were on the same page that I was going to come back. I wanted to come back. The Bay means a lot to me. It's just a special area and like I said, I wanted to see this organization win because it hasn't won in over a decade. It's a shame because you have a lot of talent, it just takes the right guys to turn this thing around."