Andrew Luck’s retirement gives me more respect for Derek Carr

Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images) /

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr’s injury history proves how much of a warrior he is after Andrew Luck‘s shocking retirement.

As the resident Colts fan, I feel it’s my duty to give respect where it’s due. Derek Carr gets it.

The Indianapolis Colts lost their franchise quarterback in a retirement heard around the NFL world on Saturday night, leaving Jacoby Brissett as the new man in Indy. The 29-year-old, former first overall draft pick, Comeback Player of the Year, and multiple Pro Bowl selections hung it up after just seven seasons.

Carr has a commanding presence about him. I can’t quite nail down how to explain it, but his presence in the locker room demands attention. It’s like when you hear people talk about Tom Brady as a leader constantly saying “he’s hungry for a win,” or when Aaron Rodgers is telling his fans in Wisconsin to “R-E-L-A-X,” or even when Peyton Manning is shooing the punting team off the field on a fourth-down and 8 down by 6 with 90 seconds on the clock.

Those players demand respect, and it shows in their play and in their daily lives.

Derek Carr has that tenacity and it shows on Hard Knocks. The first episode when he’s talking to the cameras at his home in front of his wife, you just got a sense that he was the leader this team needs right now. He sets the tone for the entire team. Not to mention he has Jon Gruden as his coach, who is notoriously tough on his players. But that’s a good thing.

Derek Carr has had many injuries in his career, even a broken leg which derailed a great season back in 2016 against the Colts, a game I was at. I remember having this sense of dread for the Raiders season and really feeling like hope as lost without Carr and it basically was.

Carr’s injury history involves everything from a broken leg to a thumb sprain:

  • Aug 15, 2014: Chest Rib Bruise
  • Aug 16, 2014: Head Cranial Concussion Grade 1
  • Sep 28, 2014: Pedal Ankle (high) Sprain Grade 3
  • Sep 28, 2014: Knee MCL Sprain Grade 2
  • May 19, 2015: Hand Finger Sprain/Pull Unspecified
  • Sep 13, 2015: Hand Thumb Sprain
  • Nov 27, 2016: Hand Finger Fracture
  • Dec 24, 2016: Leg Fibula Fracture
  • Oct 1, 2017: Back Vertebral Fracture

Carr hasn’t exactly been injury prone, but a back fracture is an injury that some players could call it quit after. Carr stuck with it and he’s proving he’s a leader in the locker room. He even told the Hard Knocks crew he doesn’t want anyone in the building who’s not willing to give 100% to this team.  Which is how a quarterback should be leading quite honestly.

Andrew Luck has had a very checkered injury history as well. Zak Keefer from The Athletic tweeted about this recently:

Luck even mulled over retiring in 2016 over the shoulder issue.

However ridiculous it sounds, the only way to make a football player tough is to say “deal with it.” Andrew Luck took a beating because of poor management from Ryan Grigson, a person who basically put nobody around his franchise quarterback for years.

Carr has everything he needs, offensive lineman group who are above average, a running back group with immense talent, a wide receiver group with two pro-bowlers and a shifty slot receiver, and a defense which can play lights out, and has two first-round picks on it, one of whom already looks like a veteran.

Raiders fans who are up in arms about Carr and complain about him and his skill are ridiculous to me. The man has leadership skills, the most important part of being a quarterback. You can throw a million touchdowns and throw for billions of yards, but if you lack leadership capability, then you don’t belong in charge of that team.

The 2019 Raiders know how good they are, and that starts with Derek Carr. The quarterback earned his spot and has earned the respect of his fellow players through his play but also his leadership on and off the field. While media can make the argument he is a middle-of-the-road quarterback talent-wise, which I do not agree with, you cannot question his toughness.

Don’t question his leadership skills.

Don’t question his ability to lead this team to a Super Bowl victory.

Luck’s retirement stung for me, but it gave me a newfound respect for Derek Carr. Carr has consistently been the best player he can be and the best man he can be on and off the field.

Derek Carr deserves the role of starting quarterback. He won’t accept anything less than the best from everyone on this team.

Just like he said on episode 1 of Hard Knocks, “if you’re not ready to win then don’t bother showing up here.”

That is the mark of a true leader.