For Pete's Sake

Raiders’ Derek Carr is happy Chiefs’ Justin Houston is back from injury (no, really)

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was rushed by Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston during a 2014 game.
Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was rushed by Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston during a 2014 game.

When the Chiefs won 26-10 at Oakland in October, the Raiders didn’t score a point in the second half.

And that was despite quarterback Derek Carr not having to worry about facing Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston, who missed the first nine games of the season with a knee injury. Since his return, Houston has four sacks and a forced fumble in three games.

During a conference call this week ahead of Thursday night’s Chiefs-Raiders showdown at Arrowhead Stadium on Thursday night, Carr was asked about facing Houston this time around. Carr said he was … happy. No, really.

“Justin Houston is one of the best players in this league,” Carr told reporters. “You guys know I love playing against him. I love playing against Von (Miller of the Broncos). I love playing against these guys because they’re the best. That’s what you sign up for when you decide to play football. Someday you want to compete against the best.

“I’m happy that he’s healthy and doing well. Obviously, I never want injuries for anybody. I’m glad he’s back and I’m glad he’s doing some good things. I do look forward to competing against him. It’s going to be tough. Obviously, it’s going to be hard. Especially going to their place, but obviously we’re looking forward to it.”

Carr also talked about Chiefs safety Eric Berry, who was the AFC defensive player of the week after he returned an interception for a touchdown and took back a missed two-point conversion for two points in the Chiefs’ 29-28 win at Atlanta.

Berry’s victory in his battle with cancer is well known to Carr.

“Amazing football player, Pro Bowler, one of the best this game’s ever seen, and I think that what he went through obviously in his own life and to see what he’s doing now, as a football fan I couldn’t be any happier for him,” Carr told reporters. “I know he’s a great guy, I know guys that played with him think he’s awesome and such a great guy. I know he loves football and so, I have nothing but good things to say about him. I’m a huge fan except for when we play him.”

Carr grew up in California, played at Fresno State and is now in Oakland. You might think that he’s a bit wary of the weather forecast for Thursday’s game at Arrowhead Stadium.

Kansas City resident Justin Parrish will be wearing his Oakland Raiders gear as he cheers on his team during Thursday night's football game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Weather Channel is predicting a 22 degrees at kickoff with a wind chill of 14 degrees.

But Carr is embracing the opportunity.

“I’ve played in a lot cold games,” Carr told reporters. “The one I can remember, the most recent off the top of my head, I played in Reno and that got down to about 8 (degrees) and things like that. I honestly, I don’t mind the cold. I like it. I think my wife gets mad at me for that because I always have the air on. I love the cold, so I don’t mind the cold. If it snows a little bit, that’ll be fun, too.”

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff