Las Vegas quarterback Derek Carr is still processing the emotional toll of the past week as the Raiders prepare to play the Denver Broncos in a meaningful AFC West game on Sunday.
Carr reviewed his performance in the team’s loss to the Chicago Bears with head coach Jon Gruden on Monday, only to learn hours later Gruden had resigned during a meeting with owner Mark Davis after a series of inflammatory emails — in which Gruden disparaged individuals with racist and anti-gay rhetoric — became public.
Carr said he has felt anger, empathy and been 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 than Carr.
General manager Mike Mayock said Wednesday that Rich Bisaccia was elevated to interim head coach because he’s “the best leader of men” he has been around.
“I feel it’s important to acknowledge the significance of this moment,” Bisaccia said 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 his fifth head coach since entering the NFL in 2014 while still coming to terms with the brutal realities of Gruden’s messages.
“Are conversations still happening, absolutely,” Carr said. “Another part of being a leader is making sure guys are OK. 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. “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.”
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