MOBILE, Ala. -- Before he ever took a snap at the varsity level in high school, former Fresno State University quarterback Derek Carr learned from his older brother, David, just how difficult playing in the NFL could be.
Although he was barely a teenager when David was taken by the Houston Texans with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2002 NFL Draft, Derek feels he learned those lessons well and is ready to take the next step to the professional ranks.
“Absolutely, this is something I was dreaming of since I was little, so I’m just out here having fun,” Carr said after a recent practice at the 2014 Senior Bowl. “I know it’s a job interview. I know all those things, but at the same time, I’m just trying to get better as a quarterback. I have so much to work on, so that’s why we do the extra stuff after.
“I do my best, man. I don’t come out here and take any reps off or try and do bad. I’m trying to do my very best, and as long as from an effort standpoint, I give everything that I have, I’m going to continue to get better.”
Part of continuing to get better on the football field comes through extra work, which Carr has done after every practice during Senior Bowl Week. On Tuesday, he threw extra fade and slant routes to Vanderbilt wide receiver Jordan Matthews, among others.
“(I did that) after all my practices in Fresno, so this is nothing new to me,” Carr said. “I like to throw after practice, every, single day. You can ask my coaches. This isn’t just for show. Jordan does the same.
“He came up to me and said it during the day (Monday), and I said, ‘Absolutely.’ You see Cody (Hoffman from BYU) and Mike (Davis from Texas) want to get in there. It’s awesome because you can see how much they want to get better.”
Carr entered this week with the approach that he was getting a seven-day job interview, an experience in which he could impress on scouts and NFL front-office personnel that he is ready to lead a franchise.
“Someone asked me (Monday), ‘Why are you always happy?’ and it was 11 p.m. and we had meetings and interviews,” Carr said. “It’s because I’ve been dreaming about this since I was little. Why be upset? I could be doing a lot worse things than being here and being tired. I’m going to continue to enjoy this process. This truly is a blessing to just be invited here and be here.
“There’s not one thing where I’m going to say, ‘Okay, I throw slants really (well), and let’s throw that aside. I can throw an 80-yard deep ball. I’m not going to work on that.’ I’m going to continue to work on everything so it doesn’t get (lost). It’s a constant process. If I throw the best ball I’ve ever thrown in my life, I will find something I did wrong and try to correct it.”
That work ethic Carr shows after making a mistake on the football field comes from a passion he has, not only for the game, but also, for victory.
“The desire to win and the desire to be great was instilled in me since I was a little kid, but it has nothing to do with people and outside sources,” Carr said. “I’m self-motivated, and I try my best to help the other players around me feed off of that.
“God has given me such abilities and such talents that I can’t come out here and slack around. If I miss a throw, I’d be wrong to not throw it again in practice. I’m just trying to show him that I’m thankful for all of the talents and abilities he’s given me.”
ClevelandBrowns.com's coverage of the 2014 Senior Bowl is Driven by Liberty Ford.