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Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels said he didn’t feel the need to give longtime starter Derek Carr a heads-up before Colin Kaepernick’s practice.
After inviting the 34-year-old free-agent quarterback to a practice Wednesday that reportedly impressed the Raiders, the coach stressed that the team is still owned by Carr.
“I think Derek is pretty comfortable with where he is,” McDaniels told reporters Thursday. “I think he knows who he is to us and I know he knows how I feel about him, how we feel about him. I don’t think that’s really a big deal for Derek at this point.”
Carr, 31, signed a three-year, $121.5 million extension this year, and he remains firmly entrenched as the team’s starting quarterback. The Raiders reportedly wanted to see if Kaepernick would fit well into a quarterback space that also includes Jarrett Stidham and Nick Mullens.
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“I think he knows this is his football team and that’s how he works on the field and he leads the way that we want him to do and he’s doing the right things,” McDaniels added. “I couldn’t ask for more from Derek Carr and I’m very happy with what he’s doing so far.”
After Jon Gruden stepped down as Raiders coach midway through last season, Carr still managed to lead the team into the playoffs in one of the toughest divisions in the NFL.
The three-time Pro Bowler had career-highs in both passing yards (4,804) and interceptions (14) in 17 games last season. He also threw 23 touchdowns and led the team to a 10-7 record before losing to eventual AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals in the wild card round.
McDaniels declined to say Thursday whether the team would sign Kaepernick, who last played in the NFL in 2016, the same year he began kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice.
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The manager revealed during his press conference that he would not answer questions about players who are not currently in the team.
“We brought tons of people to practice,” McDaniels said. “We said from day one that we would seize any opportunity and he’s not the first player we’ve looked at and it won’t be the last.”
“So there will be a lot of people coming in and out of this building and having a chance to make an impression,” added the coach. “The evaluations we make are private to us and if we make the decision to add someone to the team, we will do it.”
Kaepernick stated in a podcast interview last month that he “desperately” wants to play in the league again and is even willing to return to the league as a backup quarterback if it boosts his comeback chances.
While Carr didn’t speak Thursday, other players, including defensive end Maxx Crosby, were asked if the team brought Kaepernick to practice.
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“To be honest, I don’t know much about it,” Crosby told reporters. “I’m worried about the guys that are here right now, so that’s really all I know about it.”