If there's one team in the NFL Derek Carr knows best, it's the Houston Texans. His brother was drafted to the Texans as the number one overall pick when Derek was just a boy and he spent five years around the city of Houston and the Texans organization.
Derek was just 12-years-old when the expansion Texans pegged his brother as their franchise quarterback. Things didn't go so well for David over his first season in Houston. He was sacked a record 76 times and the team finished 4-12.
For young Derek, this didn't seem altogether normal but he says at the time that he didn't really know any better.
"All I knew was, I grew up a Cowboy and Raider fan, I was like I never saw those quarterbacks get hit that much," said Derek Carr. "Just being honest, that's what my thought was, being a kid. And being older and going back and watching his game, I understand what was going on now."
"They were an expansion team. . . you cannot do it by yourself. I'm not saying that he was right every time, I'm not saying that anyone else was wrong. I'm just saying it takes a team effort to win football games."
After that season, the Texans held the third overall pick and with that pick they sought to get Carr some help at receiver. And in the process of giving David his new favorite target, they gave Derek a lasting friendship - All Pro wide receiver Andre Johnson.
Derek had admired Johnson even before the Texans made him their third overall pick in the 2003 draft. And now he would get to meet him and watch him firsthand as a member of the Texans.
"I was a big college football fan so I grew up watching the Miami Hurricanes," Carr continued. "Everyone knows around that time, it seems like nobody could beat them. So, I was a big fan of his and I was hoping during that draft ‘man, I hope we get him'. . . then we got him and I was kind of like ‘Man, I want to hang out with this guy.'"
Soon after Johnson came to the Texans, Derek began playing football as well. His football playing days began at First Colony Middle School in nearby Sugar Land Texas. The two of them did strike up a friendship and next thing you know, it was Andre who was watching Derek play football. Which, as you can imagine, was quite an honor for Derek.
"Not a lot of kids have a Hall of Fame wide receiver coming to their Junior High football games," said Derek.
"I'd always joke around with him ‘Someday, I'm gonna throw you the ball' . . . we get to play each other now so it will be pretty cool."
Andre said last week that he too very much looks forward to seeing Derek again and talking with him. He will have that chance Sunday when the Texans are in Oakland to play the Raiders. And Derek will get to face the team who was a large part of his early growth as a football player and from a city he holds close to his heart.
"I have a lot of memories there," said Carr. "Especially Mr McNair, Toro their mascot, always had a good time playing catch with him at practice. I have so many memories, but my goal isn't to enjoy watching them play. My goal now is to go out and compete and try and beat them. That's what I'm trying to get ready to do."