For better or worse, quarterback David Carr is a New York Giant. And if he had to do it all over again knowing what he knows now, he would.
The 'it' of course, is re-signing with the Giants a month before the NFL draft, when the team traded up six spots in the fourth round to select a promising young quarterback prospect in Ryan Nassib.
Carr, who said he got the news of the Nassib selection when he was back home in California running a football camp, said he understood the Giants' reasoning for taking a young signal caller.
"Me and Eli (Manning) are both over 30," he said. "So it makes sense (to draft a young player) whether it's this year or next year. The team has to look out for the future of the franchise."
Those are not simply the words from a company man. Those are the words of a man whose career hasn't quite worked out the way he would have expected but who has learned from the past how to take the high road.
The first overall pick in the 2002 NFL draft out of Fresno State, Carr was anointed the leader of the then expansion Houston Texans franchise.
The problem though is that he found himself facing an uphill battle that included playing behind a shoddy offensive line that gave up an astonishing 76 sacks, a single season high. The constant pounding he took eventually rattled his confidence and turned him into a shell of what he had been coming out of college.
"Well, we didn't win a lot of games or get a lot of passes off," Carr said about that first season with Houston. "You could write a book about what it did not just to me but to the organization."
After the 2006 season ended, Carr played the 2007 campaign with the Carolina Panthers. That next year, as an unrestricted free agent, he signed with the Giants, where he's been Manning's backup every year with the exception of the 2010 season when he spent one year out in San Francisco.
In his role as understudy to Manning, Carr has appeared in just nine games, mostly of the mop-up variety, completing 32 of his 48 pass attempts for 3 touchdowns. His primary responsibility has been running the scout team and, as he described it, being a coach on the field, a role, he expects will continue this season despite the addition of Nassib.
But even though Carr has been in the Giants system and knows the offense about as well as anyone right now, his place on the 2013 squad is not a lock.
Since 2008, the Giants have mostly stuck with two quarterbacks on their roster. This year, thanks to the addition of Nassib, there is a chance that they'll look to keep three signal callers, a decision that won't be made until probably the final cut down date.
If that happens, Carr said he'll take it in stride.
"That's going to be a decision they have to make, and that's what (head) Coach (Tom) Coughlin said to me when we showed up in the spring after they drafted (Nassib)," Carr said. "He told me, 'Just let us make the decision. Go out there and use your experience to be the player that you are and let us worry about all that.' That's my mind set anyway. I can't control what they decide to do at the end. I'm just going to play my bests football and see what happens."
Interestingly, Carr doesn't view Nassib as a threat to his own roster spot.
"When you go out to practice, it's not like we're competing against each other,"
Carr explained. "You're trying to be the best player you can be. You're trying to motivate your team and motivate the offense and be a coach on the field. Anything after that, you're just wasting your time thinking about it."
Carr drew some chuckles when he admitted that he would have "freaked out" ten years ago if suddenly a team acquired someone who was a threat to his roster spot. But age and maturity have helped him see things in a whole different perspective.
"When you're in the league 12 years no, you see things differently. So it's not a negative at all," he said. "I'm super happy for Ryan, I think he's a great kid. I think he's going to have a great career and I'm going to do everything I can to make him a great football player, and I'm going to do the same thing with Eli, so it's not a negative at all."
That's also why Carr said he would gladly re-sign with the Giants, even if he knew of the team's intentions to draft a quarterback this year.
"When you're sitting there talking to your agent about different possibilities, if I'm going to go on the field, I'd rather go on the field with a Super Bowl champion in a system I've spent a good part of my career in where I do feel like a coach on the field than a team that I'm not sure about," he said.
Even if that team offers a possibility for him to emerge as a starter?
"I've been in too many bad situations," Carr said. "I've been like, 'Oh I can go here and this kid isn't very good and he's not sure if he's entrenched as the starter. Well that's because their team is terrible. Say I went to a team where I had a chance to start and the team isn't' ready (to compete), or my skills aren't a fit or I don't jive with the coordinator. Then that's a bad situation. This is a good situation for me."
As for how much longer he anticipated being in this good situation, Carr reiterated that it was the coaches' call.
On a broader scale, though, Carr hasn't even thought about retiring, even if he does find himself unemployed after this summer.
"It's kind of hard to throw a random number on it, but experience wise I feel pretty comfortable playing football right now," he said. "Physically, I don't' feel like I've lost anything. It's like when you're young, you don't know anything and you kind of wish that you can speed along that process and kind of meet your physical ability.
"When you get too old, your physical ability can't really keep up with what you're seeing on the field and right now I feel like I kind of am at the peak. So whatever that number is, it is, but when it's done, I'm going to be fine with that."
Patricia Traina is a New Jersey-based, accredited sportswriter who covers the New York Giants for Inside Football. She is also a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. Follow her on Twitter @Patricia_Traina.
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