Fall 2022

Raiders QB Derek Carr content in Christ: 'I don't need the world to give me anything'

While playing in the American Century Championship celebrity golf event last month, Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr noticed a woman in a photography vest who was limping. Carr felt God calling him to pray for her, so he asked the woman if she was OK with him doing so.

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She said yes and then told him the next day she didn’t feel any pain at all while she was on her feet for more than three hours shooting the tournament. Carr recalled the experience during his recent appearance on “The High Note” podcast, hosted by Christian musician Tauren Wells.

“Even though we had fun at golf, that was the victory that weekend,” Carr said on the podcast.

 

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Carr is now back in training camp preparing for his ninth season in the NFL, in which he has a chance to lead the Raiders to consecutive playoff appearances for the first time since going three straight years from 2000-02. Las Vegas (10-7 last year) lost to the eventual AFC-champion Cincinnati Bengals in the wild-card round last season, after Carr set new career highs in completions (428), pass attempts (626) and passing yards (4,804). His passing yards were the fifth-highest total in the league.

An already difficult task — winning divisional games — got even more daunting with the arrival of Russell Wilson in Denver. Playing in the AFC West means the Raiders will face the Chargers’ Justin Herbert (5,014 passing yards last year, No. 2 in the NFL), the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes (four-time Pro Bowler, 2018 NFL MVP) and Wilson (nine-time Pro Bowler) twice apiece.

But Carr is a three-time Pro Bowler enjoying a long, productive NFL career that actually nearly ended before it started. In his conversation with Wells, the 31-year-old QB detailed how close he came to leaving the NFL to become a pastor during the offseason leading into his rookie year.

Carr made peace with sacrificing his football career to enter ministry if that was really God’s plan for him. Ultimately, he felt God telling him he should stay in the NFL for the time being and that he didn’t have to choose one or the other.

“It was in that moment where I think the Lord knew that my heart was His, and I’ve been able to minister to thousands of people,” Carr said on the podcast. “I’ve been in stadiums — 15,000, 18,000 people — preaching the Gospel and watching thousands of people get saved. I’ve seen healings take place. I’ve seen people set free. I’ve seen marriages reunite. I’ve seen kids come back home. All while playing football.”

 

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As the face of the franchise and the Raiders’ all-time leader in the major passing categories, Carr is entrenched as a leader in the locker room. He told Wells he enjoys getting to talk to teammates who don’t know Christ and wants everyone to know he loves them regardless of what they believe.

“Honestly, it’s fun,” he said on the podcast. “Some of the best conversations I’ve had are with non-believers because there’s an interest. Sometimes there’s a big ‘no’ sign up, and it’s just fun to talk about. Like, ‘Hey, we can disagree, and we can just talk about it.'”

 

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Carr and Wells also discussed the challenge of staying true to what you believe in a world that pulls athletes in so many different directions. Living in Las Vegas comes with all kinds of other potential distractions as well. Knowing he is a child of God first and foremost has helped Carr keep his eyes on Christ and not give into worldly temptations.

“It really starts, I think, with identity though,” Carr said. “Being secure in who you are and whose you are. Once you have that, I don’t need the world to give me anything else.”

The Raiders defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday in the Hall of Fame Game, and will host the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday as part of the first full weekend of preseason action. The Raiders visit the Los Angeles Chargers in their regular-season opener Sept. 11.

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