New Saints quarterback Derek Carr is looking forward to a fresh start in New Orleans.

During a lengthy introductory news conference Saturday, the 31-year-old detailed his nine-year tenure with the Raiders organization.

Carr also expressed his excitement for what his future with the Saints might hold. One of the players Carr hopes to build a strong relationship with on the field in 2023 is wide receiver Michael Thomas.

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Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr #4 speaks during a press conference after the first day of the mandatory minicamp at the Los Vegas Raiders/Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center on June 7, 2022 in Henderson, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The Saints restructured Thomas’ contract in January and he could ultimately go to another NFL team. But Carr seemed expected to throw passes to the receiver when the season begins.

Carr and Thomas have built a good relationship off the field and stayed in touch as the veteran quarterback navigated the free agency process.

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«When he started recruiting and talking to me, he wasn’t even trying to recruit me, he was just saying, ‘When are we going to work? We’re wasting time, the clock is ticking,'» Carr said.

“I was like, ‘Dude, I’m the same. We’ll get there.’ But I think our relationship has grown through the process, and I look forward to making that relationship even stronger.»

The Saints also re-signed tight end Juwan Johnson, giving Carr another reliable target to use.

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr #4 looks to throw during the first half of a game against the New England Patriots at Allegiant Stadium on December 18, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr #4 looks to throw during the first half of a game against the New England Patriots at Allegiant Stadium on December 18, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Chris Unger/Getty Images)

But Carr’s departure from the Raiders certainly had an impact on him. «It’s hard because I love so many people there. At the same time, it’s a breath of fresh air,» he said.

Carr said the unceremonious break with the Raiders served as his motivation. He believes that he has been given a second chance to prove himself.

«I can just go in there and show my work ethic, and really try it again…I didn’t plan or dream it would end that way. That’s for sure,» he said. «I understood the business side and why things were happening, all of that. I mean, I understand. But it hurt. For me, as a competitor, I wanted to finish off my teammates… It lit a fire in me that I’ve always had, but it just made it hot. It gave me this thrill.»

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The four-time Pro Bowler also showed appreciation for his time with the Raiders.

«It wouldn’t be me if I didn’t say thank you. I had a great nine years there, lots of good memories, lots of hard times, lots of fun times, lots of kids since those days.»

Carr’s relationship with Saints head coach Dennis Allen played a role in his decision to sign with the Saints. Allen was the Raiders’ head coach when Carr was selected in the second round of the 2014 draft.

«DA, how I feel about this man, I hope that as I sit here I tell you what I think about him and the opportunity,» Carr said Saturday. «You gave me my first chance, every time we played against you since we weren’t on the same team, I always said thank you.»

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) practices during NFL football training camp on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022, in Henderson, Nevada.

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) practices during NFL football training camp on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022, in Henderson, Nevada. (AP Photo/John Locher)

After the Raiders allowed Carr to explore a potential trade, the Saints quickly began contacting him. Carr eventually visited the Saints in person. Carr even revealed that the team was «exploiting» her phone with calls and text messages.

«I don’t think he’s just a veteran quarterback. I think he’s the veteran quarterback we wanted,» Allen said. «I don’t know if there was this thing, well, we had to go out there and find any veteran quarterback. We wanted to find the quarterback we wanted. Like I said before, we clearly identified Derek as our number one.» target And we [went] He went out and caught him.»

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Carr’s four-year contract with the Saints likely won’t become official until free agency begins on March 15.

The team has also offered former starting quarterback Jameis Winston a restructured contract that he has until the start of the new league year to accept, sources told ESPN. The former No. 1 overall pick in the draft has one year left on the two-year contract he signed in 2022.

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