Derek Carrier held his second annual football camp last week.
The 28-year-old Carrier hosted the camp in his hometown of Edgerton as part of Convoy of Hope—a faith-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to assist the poor.
And you would be hard pressed to determine who had a better time at the camp: the starry-eyed Edgerton kids that could brag about their summer counselor being a real-life NFL player or Carrier himself.
Carrier will begin his eighth season in the NFL on July 26 when he reports to the Oakland Raiders training camp. The tight end started two games for Oakland last season and finished with seven receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown.
Last week’s camp gave Carrier a chance to give back to a community that has always been his No. 1 supporter.
“It’s just been so awesome to be home around family and friends,” Carrier said. “God has a calling for me, and I feel like this is a big part of it.
“The camp allowed me the opportunity to try and convey life lessons to those kids and how important it is to not only serve your team and teammates, but to find unity in each other and to build each other up. And there was plenty of football instruction, too.”
Through the Convoy of Hope program, Carrier’s camp was able to deliver 250 sets of groceries and 400 pairs of shoes to those in need. The camp also donated clothing through the Edgerton Outreach Program.
Carrier also found time during his visit home to address a camp for high school football players as part of his devotion to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
“That wasn’t so much a message as it was a testimony on the world we currently live in,” Carrier said. “I just wanted them to know that life is fickle, and that you have to find a purpose and have faith. I was released twice, traded twice and had three surgeries, but my faith kept my foundation strong.
“Too much of their identity, especially as high schoolers, is based on social media. What you have today could be gone tomorrow.”
Carrier heads back home July 11 to begin preparing for the rigors of an NFL training camp, but he hopes to deliver one more inspirational message today. He will give a sermon at First Lutheran Church in Janesville during the 7:45 a.m. drive-in worship and at the 9:15 a.m. service. His sermon will center around his faith and how it sustains him in his life.
When training camp opens in three weeks, Carrier says he will be the healthiest he has ever been to start a season. He had his last surgery in January 2018 to remove bone spurs from his ankle and got through the 2018 season relatively injury-free.
He likes the make-up of this year’s Raiders team and thinks the sky is the limit for Jon Gruden’s crew.
“I really like the moves we made in the offseason,” Carrier said of team’s transactions, which included trading for Pro Bowl wide receiver Antonio Brown.
“With Derek (Carr) back, which we figured would happen all along, I really think we can be a Super Bowl contender. He provides the leadership, and Gruden provides the fiery, passionate approach you want in your coach.”
The same kind of passion Derek Carrier has for his faith, family and football.