Derek Carr can’t quite keep up with Davante Adams when the close friends and new teammates compete in sprints on the practice field.
The golf course is a different story.
“Me, 100 percent,” Carr said of who is coming out ahead on the links in outings both players have posted about on social media in recent days.
When the reunited college friends aren’t competing against each other or sharing meals between their families, they are getting ready to take on the league as NFL teammates for the first time.
Those preparations are going very well.
“After we threw for the first time this year, my brothers were like, ‘How was it?’ I told them, ‘Honestly, it’s like riding a bike,’” Carr said of throwing routes to one of the league’s best receivers, who was acquired by the Raiders in a trade from Green Bay last month.
“Every ball is right there, and the guy is so freakishly talented, he makes me look better than I actually am. So, it’s a blessing to be able to play with him, not only because of the player he is, but he’s one of my best friends in the whole world.”
That relationship dates back to their record-setting days as teammates at Fresno State where their on-field connection blossomed into a tight friendship. That connection only grew as they became NFL players and family men, with Adams buying an offseason home up the hill from Carr in the Bay Area.
But while Adams was becoming a superstar in Green Bay and Carr was the face of the franchise with the Raiders, their professional paths diverged.
The Raiders’ move to Las Vegas and a raging pandemic limited even their offseason connections, so they came up with a plan to finally play together in the NFL.
Adams pushed for a trade to the Raiders that included a massive contract and now Carr expects to be here with him for the next few years after signing an extension of his own this week.
“We’ve tried to plot and scheme this thing for a long time, you know? But at the end of the day, we both loved our situations,” Carr said at a news conference Wednesday announcing his deal. “He had a great situation. I had a great situation. But we always talked about it, one day we’re going to make it happen. And the opportunity came, and we worked hard to try and make that happen. … We’ve had success together, but that was at the college level, completely different. But we do have confidence that we can do it at this level, too.”
They don’t plan on relying on their past success together. Even though Adams appears to be the final piece to put the Raiders’ offense over the top on paper, they both know the work has to be done on the field.
That’s why they have already been throwing routes and why both were in the building when OTAs began this week, along with nearly every player under contract.
“We have to go earn it,” Carr said. “There’s so much work to be done that our only mindset is when we come in tomorrow to make sure we’re outworking everybody. And I’m trying to race Davante on our conditioning test and push him and of course he strides very easily past me. I was glad to see that, that he’s getting older, but he can still run, so that’s good.
“So, with all that said, when our hardest-working people can lead the charge and be that, I think that’ll provide what our offense can be. But right now, we’ve only had two days of work so I don’t know what it can be.”
He has a pretty good idea from the 233 catches and 38 touchdowns they combined for over two seasons at Fresno State. And now they have guys like Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller to take some of the defensive attention away.
“I’m always confident,” Carr said. “I think it’s OK to be excited for what we’ve done. I’m excited where we’re going.”
Contact Adam Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.