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Derek Carr Says God Is Faithful Through Raiders Turmoil; Gruden Attends Chaplain’s Church

Derek Carr: Former Teammate ‘Needs to Be Loved’

This week Carr also addressed the latest crisis facing the Raiders: the arrest of Ruggs, the team’s 2020 first-round draft pick. Police say the 22-year-old wide receiver was driving 156 mph early Tuesday, with a blood alcohol content twice the legal limit, when he crashed into another car, killing that driver and her dog. Ruggs, who’s out on bail and may face additional charges, is scheduled to appear in court next week.

During a press conference Wednesday, Carr said of Ruggs: “I will always be here for him. That won’t change, and I will prove that over the course of time to him.” His former teammate “needs people to love him right now,” Carr says. Ruggs is “probably feeling a certain type of way about himself right now, and he needs to be loved. And if no one else will do it, I’ll do it.”

David Carr says the “situation” with Ruggs “has hit my brother harder than you can imagine” because the teammates had been growing closer lately. Before the accident, Ruggs was at a TopGolf venue and “even asked Derek for tips on his golf swing” via text message, according to David Carr. “Nothing appeared to be out of the ordinary. But, from there, Ruggs made deadly and life-altering decisions that are inexcusable.”

Despite his brother’s compassion, David says Derek is “also geared for leadership” and able to compartmentalize “between real life and your football life.” He doesn’t expect the Raiders to “crumble under the weight of what they’ve already endured” because “I know what my brother is made of.” David Carr did take heat this week for a now-deleted tweet implying his brother deserved to be MVP for what he’s faced so far this season.

Former Raiders Coach Attends Team Chaplain’s Church

The Raiders were already dealing with the sudden departure of head coach Jon Gruden, who resigned under pressure October 11. In emails from as far back as 2010, Gruden reportedly used racist, homophobic, and misogynistic language.

When asked about the circumstances behind Gruden’s downfall, Derek Carr told reporters he was “sick about it” and dealing with a range of emotions. “I don’t condone that kind of talk … and it’s hard because I love the man so much,” he said of Gruden. “I’ve done things that I’m glad that I’m still loved,” Carr added. “Don’t get me wrong: I love the man, and you hate the sin.”

This week, Raiders team chaplain and former NFL star Randall Cunningham said Gruden still attends worship services at his Las Vegas church. Cunningham, who became an ordained minister after retiring from pro football, launched Remnant Ministries in 2006.

Cunningham tells the Mercury News that Gruden is faithful and caring. He says he’s told the former coach, “Hey, I know you as a person. I don’t believe you’re a racist in any faction of the game.” The pastor, who is Black, says, “If anybody pulled up our records, we would all be guilty. So I don’t condemn him, nor do we as a church condemn him. … We’re all forgiven, and we can mature in Christ.”

Cunningham, who says he prays for and loves Gruden, adds that he has told the former coach he accepts the responsibility “to be here and to be a brother to you.” Gruden, in turn, calls his pastor “the best,” noting that he’s been attending Remnant Ministries since the Raiders moved to Las Vegas in early 2020.