Dallas is Derek Carr's middle name – literally.
The last time the Raiders played on Thanksgiving Day was 2013, a year before they selected their franchise quarterback in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Carr is the longest tenured Raider on the team, and has been anxious for the opportunity to play on the national holiday against his team his family rooted for growing up.
Carr himself lived in Texas for a decent amount of his childhood after his older brother, David, was the No. 1 pick in the 2002 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans. While in Texas, the Raiders QB played 26 games at Clements High School in Sugar Lane, Texas. While in attendance there, he threw 28 touchdowns.
"My mom's side of the family [are] Cowboys fans. … We wouldn't eat at the table, we'd eat with TV trays watching the Cowboys play," Derek Carr said reminiscing on his Thanksgivings growing up. "A lot of memories being able to meet some of these guys, from the mid-90s, late 90s, those teams. Meeting some of those players and getting to know them, like Deion [Sanders], he was my favorite player growing up on the Cowboys, he was so fun to watch. I definitely have a lot of memories. If you grew up in that time, unless you were a Niners fan, it was really fun to watch those guys play and try to emulate them."
Carr will not be the only Raider returning home to Texas this Thursday. Defensive tackle Solomon Thomas grew up in Coppell, Texas, – a suburb of the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. There in Texas, he was a four-star prospect at Coppell High School before committing to Stanford University. Tre’von Moehrig will be receiving a big homecoming. The rookie safety is the reigning Jim Thorpe Award winner from TCU, and grew up in Spring Branch, Texas, where he and most of his family grew up Dallas Cowboys fans.
"At the end of the day, they said they're pulling for me," Moehrig confirmed on his family's allegiance. "They've grown up with me, they're my friends and family so at the end of the day, they're going to be pulling for me and this team."
The last time Moehrig played at AT&T Stadium was against Ohio State in September of 2018, when he was a freshman. Thirty-eight months later, he'll have the "surreal moment" of returning to the stadium on the highest level in front of his friends and family.
"Getting a big plate of food, chilling with the family and grubbing down watching a good football game," continued Moehrig. "Our coaches said before, Thanksgiving games are big games and they're special. You'll remember them for the rest of the time you're playing."
Even with the hurrah of playing on Thanksgiving Day, the main goal at hand is leaving Texas with a win. The Silver and Black are on a three-game slide and will need to pick up this win to keep them in playoff contention. The 5-5 Raiders are currently the 11th spot in the AFC, with one game separating teams five through 12 in the conference. This would be the perfect game for Carr and his team to get back on the right track and continue to push for a playoff spot with eight weeks left in the season.
"This is a big game for us, just like they all are," said Carr. "And it's a big game 'cause it's the next game. What an opportunity for us to get back on track on the road in a hostile environment against a really good football team."
View director of photography Michael Clemens' top picks of black and white photos from the Raiders' Week 11 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals at Allegiant Stadium.