It was a historic offseason for Las Vegas Raiders legends Charles Woodson and Tom Flores after they were both inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Flores was a trailblazer and a pioneer during his days with the Silver and Black. Meanwhile, Woodson established himself as arguably the greatest defensive back in NFL history before hanging up his cleats.
Quarterback Derek Carr was fortunate enough to have the latter as a teammate during his first two seasons. However, it is safe to say that Woodson managed to leave quite an impression on the next generation of players behind him.
Carr opened up on his relationship with Woodson and the impact that he continues to have on his career to this day.
“Oh my goodness. One, congratulations to both of them,” Carr said. “That’s so cool. Just a fan of there’s. Growing up, I was a huge fan of C-Wood, huge fan of Mr. Flores because of where I grew up. Getting to know both of them has been a huge honor to me because I’m just a fan, really. I think we all are, at some point, a fan of somebody and when you get to meet them, it’s pretty cool. C-Wood, I can’t limit his leadership to just when I played with him. He still is a leader to me. He still texts me. He still calls me. He’ll me out and say, ‘Hey, do this.’ And he’ll still tell me when I’m doing a great job. The demand he’s put on my life as a quarterback and a leader of this organization, I think that he knew on his way out that Khalil [Mack] and I were coming up as the leaders of the organization. Just what he’s always asked of us and demanded of us, he still does. I saw him at the Tahoe golf tournament. I hear the, ‘Hey, hey’ Hall of Fame voice. I turn around and sure enough it was him. I went over, gave him a hug and we talked for 10 minutes. He’s still, ‘Tell Bryan Edwards this. Tell [Henry] Ruggs [III] this. You, do this.’ I can’t limit his leadership, again, to just the confined time. He’s still a leader and a big brother to me. I’ll always be thankful to him because, and he gets mad when I say this, when I was six years old, I was pretending to be him. The fact that he’s in my life right now is pretty cool.”
Carr’s comments are indicative of just how much Woodson meant to the Raiders’ organization. The feeling is mutual given his concern over some new faces like wide receivers Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards.
The Raiders were still in the midst of a grueling rebuild when they struck gold by taking Carr and defensive end Khalil Mack with their first two picks in the 2014 NFL Draft. While the team was still struggling to stay in the win column, Woodson’s leadership clearly helped pay huge dividends for both of them.
Carr secured three consecutive trips to the Pro Bowl from 2015-2017, while Mack earned Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2016. Although the latter may no longer be with the team, Woodson’s premonition of their success proved to be true.
Carr is now tasked with taking on a similar mentorship role as a stabilizing factor amid all the changes in recent years.