Derek Carr continues to compute the emotional toll of the past week as the Las Vegas Raiders prepare to play the Denver Broncos in a meaningful AFC West game on Sunday.
After a post-mortem of his performance in a loss to the Chicago Bears with Jon Gruden on Monday, Carr learned hours later that the team was without a head coach. Gruden resigned in a meeting with owner Mark Davis as a series of inflammatory emails in which Gruden disparaged individuals with racist and anti-gay rhetoric became public.
Carr said he felt anger, empathy and sick to his stomach over the past week.
“A lot of emotions obviously,” Carr said. “Didn’t see all of this coming. Caught us all by surprise. There will be a day for those feelings. But from an emotional standpoint, I’ve got a job to do.”
No player on the Raiders’ roster spent more time with Gruden.
General manager Mike Mayock said Wednesday Rich Bisaccia was elevated to interim head coach because he’s “the best leader of men” Mayock has been around.
“I feel it’s important to acknowledge the significance of this moment,” Bisaccia said on Wednesday. “Coach Gruden gave me a chance to coach in the National Football League and I’ll always be appreciative of that. That being said, we all have a responsibility here. We have to be accountable to our words and our actions. No one person is bigger than the Raiders shield. The Raiders have always stood for diversity, inclusion and social justice. It’s important to live those ideals and carry them into the future. We can’t change the past, but we can do more to maybe make tomorrow better.”
Carr will be playing for a fifth head coach in his NFL career since entering the NFL in 2014 while still coming to terms with the brutal realities of the messages unearthed from Gruden.
“Are conversations still happening? Absolutely. Another part of being a leader is making sure guys are OK,” Carr said. “This is the biggest story in sports right now and … you turn the TV on and it’s what’s on. I’m sad for our organization, I’m sad for our fans.”
Carr wondered aloud if Gruden was the only NFL coach or general manager with skeletons on his hard drive.
“I love the man — but hate the sin,” a reflective and tense Carr said Wednesday of Gruden. “If we started opening up everyone’s private emails and texts, people would start sweating a little bit. But maybe that’s what they should do for all coaches, GMs and owners from now on. You have to open up everything, see what happens.”
Bisaccia said the Raiders, 3-2, are a good team and there is a lot of season remaining with goals “still alive.” Bisaccia said he still considers Gruden a friend, but they haven’t had dialogue since Monday.
“No one wants to be a head coach in this particular situation. No one wants to be put in front of this in these particular circumstances,” he said. “But it’s an incredible opportunity. … We’re looking forward to the opportunity to play ball again.”
–Field Level Media