Q: What does it mean to you to continue your career with the Raiders in the Bay Area?
Carter: It means so much. As you know, I started my football career at Oak Grove High School in San Jose, went to Cal, went to the 49ers. Of course, I played with other teams, but it all comes full circle. It started in the Bay and it’s a great opportunity to be back in the Bay and be back with an organization that’s trying to turn things around and be an elite team again. So I’m very grateful.
Q: How many years would you say you’d still like to play?
Carter: Everybody always asks me that. One of the old vets finally told me, if you can go for 10, go for five more, but I just take it one year at a time. Everything is always based upon the individual, just how you feel. Can you wake up and do it again week after week? That’s just something that I’ve been taught consistently since day one. I just take it one year at a time and 2013 will be year 13 for me. I’m just taking it all in stride.
Carter: In general, we definitely had a little bit of struggles in the beginning, but towards the end, we came along strong. I just think we were communicating real well. We were making plays. We weren’t giving up as much yardage as we did in the beginning. Like any scheme, it takes some time. And when you’re dealing with a lot of younger guys that are just kind of maybe unsure of themselves or just unsure of the scheme, we just continued to talk and communicate and towards the end you could see it was very productive. That was just something that was a stepping stone as far as our development and we just continued this from then on. As far as for myself, I appreciate the Raiders organization for bringing me in, especially coming off a major injury. And then personally for myself, I just started coming back to my own, to how I basically played through 2011, before I got hurt. For them to see that and bring me back, they believed in me and believed I still had a lot left in the tank, not only from a player standpoint, but from a leader standpoint. Taking that leadership into the locker room, teaching the younger guys how it’s done, what it takes to be a professional, not just from a football standpoint, but just life in general because this game is never promised. One play could be your last. I’ve been very fortunate to play for a long period of time. I pray that the young guys that I take under my wing that they have a long career as well.
Q: Since the season ended and free agency started, was it your feeling that the Raiders were going to bring you back?
Carter: I was optimistic. I knew there was going to be a lot of changes after last season, but I was optimistic just talking to Coach DA [Dennis Allen], [Defensive Coordinator Jason] Tarver, and later on, talking to Reggie McKenzie. I think we were on the same page that I was going to come back and I wanted to come back. The Bay Area means a lot to me. It’s just a special area. Like I said, I wanted to see this organization win because they haven’t won in over a decade, which is a shame because you have a lot of talent. It just takes the right guys to turn this thing around.