Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has previously spoken out about his close relationship with former head coach Jon Gruden amid fallout from the email scandal that led to Gruden’s resignation, and Carr hopes Gruden is eventually forgiven.
“That right there was emotional for me,” Carr told FOX’s Charles Woodson in an interview aired Sunday.
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Carr is Gruden’s neighbor and said he walked to Gruden’s home after news of his resignation broke.
“I hugged him, hugged his wife. I just said, ‘Coach, thank you for coming back and coaching me. Thank you for helping me take my career off again,’” Carr told the Pro Football Hall of Famer. “I just said, ‘Thank you. I know you’re in a tough place. If you need anything, we’re right here.’”
Gruden resigned as head coach following a bombshell report that uncovered troves of racist, misogynistic and homophobic comments he made in emails to former Washington team president Bruce Allen between 2010 and 2018. The emails were just a small portion of the 650,000 emails reviewed by the NFL as a part of its investigation into Washington’s workplace misconduct.
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“I feel bad for everybody involved,” Carr continued. “I didn’t say those things, so what does it mean? I still feel the pain because I love that man so much.”
“At some point, hopefully, people forgive him … and I don’t know at what capacity that is … just so he can live life. I’ve seen the pain in his eyes and in his heart that it caused and so, hopefully, one day people can at least accept him that, ‘Hey, you’re not perfect, neither am I, but hey, we love you.’”
Despite the controversy, the Raiders defeated the Denver Broncos last Sunday to improve 4-2.
“The message was: ‘You’re right to feel however you wanna feel, but we still have a job to do, and nobody cares what we think, how we feel, except for if we win this game on Sunday,” Carr said of his advice to the team.
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“No matter what I go through, for me, I’m gonna enjoy my time in the NFL. I’m gonna cut it loose. I’m gonna play my tail off. Playing that free has led to more success. … The thing that I want is the trophy. So whatever anybody says up until that point, I don’t care. I just want to hold that trophy and know that it’s mine.”