‘Never envisioned it ending this way’

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Derek Carr is taking one last emotional curtain call.

With his fate decided by the Raiders benching him before Week 17, the team’s longtime quarterback penned a goodbye note to Raiders fans, which he posted on social media Thursday morning. The 31-year-old also made it clear that he’s not done playing.

“I once said that if I’m not a Raider I would rather be at home and I meant that, but I never envisioned it ending this way,” Carr wrote on Instagram. “That fire burning inside of me to win a championship still rages. A fire no man can extinguish; only God. So I look forward to a new city and a new team who, no matter the circumstance, will get everything I have. Winning a championship is what I’ve always wanted and what I will continue to work towards.”

Carr, who was the Raiders’ starting quarterback for nine seasons until he was benched by first-year coach Josh McDaniels, appeared in his first playoff game last year, a wild-card loss to the Bengals under interim coach Rich Bisaccia; Carr was injured and missed the Raiders’ 2016-17 wild-card loss to the Texans.

Derek Carr warms up before the Steelers-Raiders game on Dec. 24, 2022.
Getty Images
Derek Carr in his last Raiders start against the Steelers.
Derek Carr in his last Raiders start against the Steelers.
AP

After a 10-7 campaign in 2021, expectations went up for Las Vegas this season after they acquired star receiver Davante Adams from the Packers and gave him a five-year, $140 million contract. But in what was supposed to be a loaded AFC West, the Raiders finished in third place at 6-11.

“Raider Nation it breaks my heart I didn’t get an opportunity to say goodbye in person,” Carr wrote. “We certainly have been on a roller coaster in our 9 years together. From the bottom of my heart, I am so grateful and appreciative of the years of support you gave to my family and me. We had our share of both heart breaking moments and thrilling game winning drives, and it always felt like you were there next to me.

“It’s especially hard to say goodbye because I can honestly say that I gave you everything I had, every single day, in season, and in the off season. It certainly wasn’t perfect, but I hope that I was able to leave you with more than a few great memories as Raider fans.”

Derek Carr and his wife Heather in 2022.
Derek Carr and his wife Heather in 2022.
Derek Carr/Instagram
Derek Carr at a Raiders press conference on Dec. 24, 2022.
Derek Carr at a Raiders press conference on Dec. 24, 2022.
AP

Carr, a three-time Pro Bowler, is under contract for three more years. He’s set to make $32.9 million in 2023 and has another $7.5 million guaranteed for 2024. In 15 games this season, Carr threw for 3,522 yards, 24 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

“Thank you to the city of Oakland for taking us in,” Carr wrote. “Thank you to the city of Las Vegas for allowing us to proudly call you home. Thank you to the organization, my teammates, all my coaches, staff, and everyone that helped me these last 9 years in those 2 buildings. Thanks to all of Raider Nation that supported, encouraged, pushed, and uplifted me at different times along this journey. Raider Nation truly is special.”



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