Washington Redskins: Andre Carter

Redskins mailbag: Part 1

February, 28, 2014
Feb 28
11:30
AM ET
The offseason already feels a bit long -- and we haven't even hit free agency yet. The draft is still more than two months away. That means there are future decisions that must be debated and discussed. So in Part 1 of the Washington Redskins Mailbag, we take a look at compensatory picks, an option in case Brian Orakpo leaves, Chris Baker's contract, receivers in the draft and more. Enjoy.

 

Catching up with: Andre Carter

February, 27, 2014
Feb 27
12:30
PM ET
Andre Carter has a simple routine these days: Wake up, help his son do homework, work out and "do whatever my wife tells me." No, he's not retired but he's not far away from it either. Carter spent five seasons in Washington, arriving as a prized free-agent defensive end. He exited after one year as an ill-fitted outside linebacker in a 3-4. In between he recorded 34 sacks, with 10.5 (and four forced fumbles) coming in 2007, which also happened to be a playoff year for Washington. Other than that season, Carter experienced a lot of losing.

Here's what Carter had to say on:

[+] EnlargeAndre Carter
Bob Donnan/USA TODAY SportsAndre Carter, a 13-year veteran, isn't ready to hang up his cleats just yet.
Whether he’d like to play again: I would still like to play. I haven’t officially retired. There’s still that one goal, which is to win Super Bowls. I know I’m not a younger pup, even though I still play like one. I’m realistic how the league moves over; everyone is going younger. My main goal and objective this offseason is to stay in shape, just because I love staying in shape. It gives me something to do. At the same time I have to shift my mind to the future and life after football and continue to make that transition. It’s a healthy balance.

Crossing that line from player to retirement: It’s not hard to cross that line. I talked to one of my former teammates, Bryant Young, after the season and he said what are you going to do? I said if someone wants me to play, I play. He said that’s good if you still have that fire, then by all means go ahead. Guys have said they know when they’re done because they said, ‘I had nothing left in the tank. My body is beat up. I don’t have the patience to keep the offseason training.’ I’m not there yet. I still feel as far as my durability and the knowledge of the game and the love of playing is still there. That’s something I’ll take to heart and know that in the end if a team does want me I’ll be ready.

Life after football: I have been talking to a lot of people I have a relationship with in TV and radio as far as commentating. It’s something I’m constantly working on, the craft of learning how to speak and be engaging, the mechanics of opening your mouth and analyzing the game. One of the good resources I have is [NFL Network’s] Mike Silver and my old high school coach is Tim Ryan. Those two are such a big part of my life. I connected with Tim when the Chargers played the Colts and I saw how he and his colleagues worked on the radio side [for Westwood One]. It was good to see. I wondered can I do this as a career and I was like I know I can. It’s a matter of do you want to do play-by-play or color or the pregame show. So many avenues.

Classes he’s taken to prepare: I’m working with a voice speed coach to try and understand annunciations, little things you may take for granted but are very important if you’re going into TV or radio, to project your voice and make sure you sound clear. I have a low voice so when I look at interviews I cringe because I understand what I’m saying, but does the audience understand what I’m saying? That’s why I’m doing technique exercises and drills, reading out loud. The reps help.

Why he wants to do this: To stay connected to the game. Your foot is still in the door, you’re still having fun, you’re still around the guys. It’s not the locker room, but it’s still fun. So why not? I would love to coach. But coaching is a lot of hours. It’s a big commitment. That’s something I’ll look at down the road once my son [now 6] graduates. Until then I’ll enjoy my family.

The best part about playing in Washington: I enjoyed just meeting the guys that came back, the old-school players. You name it, they were there and that just showed these guys really care about the tradition and really cared about continuing the legacy, that Redskins pride. That’s important. It brings a lot of camaraderie and a sense of pride about yourself. We were not only representing ourselves, but those guys that made the Redskins name.

The toughest part about playing in Washington: For as much talent as we had, it was disappointing when we were unsuccessful. Being with New England gives you a different perspective, especially this year. We had a lot of major injuries and a lot of key guys out. We could have turned it in early. But Bill kept us humble and hungry. He took guys not as talented as the other players who were out, but they worked their butts off. When a group of men believes in one another and you do your job, that’s what we did. We did our job. There’s no secret pill or drink we took. We just focused and tried to outexecute our opponents. If we had taken that mentality [in Washington] and used it to our advantage, who knows what we could have done? Live and learn from experience.

The difference in organizations: One thing the [Patriots] do so well is they evaluate themselves from a coaching standpoint and in evaluating players. But when I got there in 2011, one coach was here had worked there 10 years. Another had been there 12 years. Another guy learning to be an offensive line coach had been there for three or four years. The staff was such a tight-knit group and they worked together. It’s tough when you don’t have consistency in coaches. The philosophy and style changes. The play-calling changes. The scheme changes. It’s like starting over. That’s one of the toughest things from a team standpoint to go through. With the Patriots, you knew who we had and who they could trust and when you have that consistency it makes things so much easier.
Regardless of who wins the Super Bowl, a former Washington Redskins player will celebrate a championship. That's because each of the remaining four teams has a former Redskins player, three of whom used to start in Washington, on their roster.

Here are the four remaining:

San Francisco cornerback Carlos Rogers (2005-10): He's missed the past two playoff games because of a hamstring injury. Those are the first games he's missed in three seasons with San Francisco (and, in fact, led all 49er defenders with 1,068 snaps this season). Rogers is the 49ers most experienced cornerback, but has not practiced since Dec. 29. Rogers has intercepted nine passes in three seasons with San Francisco (helped by a six-pick season in 2011); that's one more than he had in six seasons with the Redskins. Rogers has two interceptions this season. When Rogers signed a one-year deal with San Francisco after the 2010 season, one member of the Redskins' organization predicted he would not be re-signed.

Denver cornerback Champ Bailey (1999-2003): The future Hall of Famer has endured his worst NFL season, missing time with a Lisfranc sprain and then losing his starting job. In fact, there was one game in which he did not play (against San Diego on Dec. 12). But Bailey shifted inside to play nickel back and now with Chris Harris, Jr. out after tearing his ACL Saturday, Bailey could return to a more prominent role.

Seattle defensive end Chris Clemons (2003-05): After tearing his ACL in the playoff win at Washington last season, Clemons returned to play 14 regular-season games as well as the win over New Orleans. Clemons' sack total took a hit this season. The Seahawk's starting right end has 4.5 sacks, after posting three straight seasons of at least 11.

New England defensive end Andre Carter (2006-10): He returned to New England for the final nine regular-season games after the Patriots suffered multiple injuries along their front. Carter was cut by Oakland in training camp and his 13-year career appeared just about over. But he stayed ready and has contributed two sacks as a reserve. He did play in Saturday's win over Indianapolis, but did not record a tackle.

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