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Derek Carr says he’s not questioning Darren Waller’s commitment

Updated November 17, 2022 - 11:34 am

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said Wednesday he isn’t questioning star tight end Darren Waller’s resolve to get back on the field.

An emotional Carr made comments after Sunday’s loss to the Colts indicating he was upset that some players weren’t fully committed to their craft. And sources said Monday there is frustration in the building over Waller’s prolonged absence as he deals with a hamstring injury.

But at his weekly news conference, Carr said, “I was not talking about anyone like that, for sure.”

Waller has missed all but eight plays of the past five games with the injury. He suffered it Oct. 10 against the Chiefs, then tried to work his way back the next four weeks while practicing at times on a limited basis.

He was unable to get back to action, though, and the Raiders put him on injured reserve last week. By rule, he must be on the list for four weeks, meaning he will miss at least three more games.

The Raiders (2-7) have lost four of their past five games, with three of them coming down to their final possession. The frustration of not having one of their most feared weapons on the field has been increasingly growing, according to the sources. The sense is that Waller isn’t demonstrating the necessary resolve to return.

On Sunday, Carr hinted that the Raiders needed more players who cared more about being available for games, especially knowing many of his teammates go to great lengths to be on the field.

“It’s hard knowing what some guys are doing … just to practice, what they’re putting in their body just to sleep at night, just so we can be there for each other,” said Carr, holding back tears. “I wish everybody in that room felt the same way about this place.”

But Wednesday, Carr made it clear he wasn’t calling anyone out in particular and that he understands the challenge of fighting through injuries.

“I’ve been through injuries, and there’s some that you can play through and there’s some that you can’t do anything about,” he said.

Coach Josh McDaniels said he doesn’t think there’s an issue with his injured players’ determination to get back on the field.

“I would never say that about our football team in general in terms of the guys’ attitude and effort to be out there,” he said. “You’ve seen it, we don’t have a lot of guys miss. We have a lot of guys that come back and try to play as soon as possible. That’s never been an issue. I would never address that, that way. I can’t speak to what he (Carr) was referring to specifically.”

Waller, who signed a contract extension in September that pays him an average salary of $17 million per season, was not available for comment Wednesday. But he expressed frustration three weeks ago about the two hamstring injuries he’s dealt with this season.

The first kept him out of most of training camp, and the current one will sideline him for the better part of at least eight games.

“Any human being would be frustrated,” said Waller, who has just 16 receptions for 175 yards this season.

Contact Vincent Bonsignore at vbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore on Twitter.

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