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Gardner Minshew simply wants to win football games and have fun doing it

Gardner Minshew II sets two goals for himself every time he steps on a football field: "Get better and have fun."

Those goals have been apparent to football fans since "Minshew Mania" becoming a craze in college and following him to when he entered the NFL in 2019. The veteran quarterback has become notable for being a unique personality, living life with a bit of a twist. His infectious energy and style captivate both his teammates and fanbases wherever he's played, with his custom-made jorts, a trademark mustache and vintage hair flow resembling Uncle Rico from the movie "Napoleon Dynamite."

"I have the confidence to be myself in every situation," Minshew told "I just always want to show up and try my best, and I think if I do that, not much can go wrong. ... You've got to look for things in your game that you can improve, but also you got to look for ways to enjoy it. You've got to look for the people around you that you enjoy being with every day."

Minshew arrives to Las Vegas after a Pro Bowl season with the Colts in 2023, where he stepped up as starter in place of injured rookie Anthony Richardson. The career season in Indianapolis was reminiscent of his rookie year with the Jacksonville Jaguars, taking the reins when former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles went down with an injury. In both 2019 and 2023, Minshew threw for over 3,000 passing yards with a combined 41 touchdowns between the two seasons.

The Raiders' new quarterback has an interesting history with the team prior to his arrival.

A Mississippi native, Minshew patterned his game after Hall of Fame quarterback Ken Stabler, who he had the pleasure of meeting as a child at a football camp. He also has a 2-0 record against the Silver and Black, the first win coming in the final football game at Oakland Coliseum and the second, a narrow win last season where Maxx Crosby infamously tried to get in Minshew's psyche with a few choice words.

"What was going through my mind is, 'I got to beat this dude,'" Minshew recalled of the trash talk from Crosby. "Shoot, he's trying to hit me and I'm just trying to win. I'm so excited because now with him and Christian [Wilkins], I know how those guys are and what they're about.

"That's what makes you better, when teams really compete and push each other, so I'm so excited to be going at it every day with those dudes."

It can be expected that he'll arrive to his locker room with the same mentality that's propelled him to success throughout his career. He knows nothing will be given to him, and it'll be a stiff competition for the starting role at quarterback.

But even with his fun-loving persona and beaming smile under his mustache, he made one thing abundantly clear.

"The first thing is, I want to be able to win," Minshew said bluntly. "I feel like we have the tools here; we have the pieces here. To be a part of a winning culture with guys who are like-minded, who want to win, is all I can really ask for.

"I love the work. I love the hard practices. I love the s– talking. That's all stuff that I think is really fun and I'm excited to get going here."

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