Slowly but surely, Derek Carr is becoming a Louisianan.
During his four months with the New Orleans Saints, he attended a Pelicans game, dressed his kids in LSU gear, endured a power outage at home, and most recently at A crocodile trophy was caught on a boat fishing trip.
The latter achievement, perhaps the most impressive of his Southern perversions.
“You guys aren’t going to tell me how great it is,” Carr told local reporters Tuesday when asked about the excursions he and teammates took last week as part of a team-building exercise during offseason practice.
Last week, Saints head coach Dennis Allen surprised the team with news of a fishing trip following the team’s offseason practice. Players and coaches travel south by bus to Premier Bowfishing Charters in Hopedale for three hours of fishing in the marshes of St Bernard’s parish.
For the 41 new players and handful of new coaches on the Saints roster, rowing deep into the swamp and shooting giant drums, redfish and alligator freckles was an exhilarating experience.
“It’s electric,” Carr said. “When we were all on the boat, Foster (Moreau) texted me and said, ‘Brother, are you okay?’ … I said, ‘Brother, I’m a swamp guy. It’s too Bravo.”
Derek Carr is officially a Louisiana resident after taking his first bow fishing trip with Premier Bowfishing Charters🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/nqow37GGl4
— Boot Krewe Media (@BootKreweMedia) June 9, 2023
Carr said his quarterback skills are useful when trying to target elusive fish in milky shallow water. They helped him catch one of the biggest fish of the night, a 4-foot alligator gar.
“You have to see it moving and you have to hit the target,” Carr said. “When I saw that alligator gar, I freaked out and they threw it over the boat and started hitting it on the head with a hammer. I was like, ‘Man, what are you doing?!’ It’s funny, I’m not going to lie.”
This isn’t the first time the Saints have used the bow as a team-building activity. They also competed in 2018. But it’s the first time many new players and coaches try the sport, and some just get hooked.
“I’ve never been. It’s been a great experience,” said catcher Chris Olaf, who was born and raised in the San Diego area. “I’ve never really been out in nature, on the water. It’s definitely something I’m looking forward to doing in the future.”
According to Saints rookie kicker Blake Grupe’s TikTok, the team went fishing? pic.twitter.com/Gg0vGjP6Xw
— Terrin Waack (@TerrinWaack) June 10, 2023
Veteran running back Jamaal Williams was less enthralled. He paddled a fish at night, much to the California native’s satisfaction.
“I’m pretty sure I turned a blind eye to it,” Williams said. “But I caught it, so I got a fish. That’s it.”
Williams said he was more interested in exploring local restaurants than returning to the Everglades for a second time.
Aim low, and that’s what I’ve learned (on a bow fishing trip),” Williams said, with a big smile on his face. “I’m not an outdoorsman. I’d rather live in a house with hour walls, internet, and outlets.
The Saints have participated in a variety of team-building activities over the past few years, including golf, bowling and paintball. One year they raced at NOLA Motorsports Park. Another time they landed at a water park in Jackson, Mississippi. They even took part in a treasure hunt in the French Quarter.
The idea behind the practice is to build relationships and foster camaraderie between players and coaches, many of whom are new to the team.
“I think (Coach Allen) is really cool to do something like that,” Carr said. “It’s cool because you’re with a group of guys that you’re not normally in a conference room. It’s linebackers, defensive ends, receivers, tight ends, quarterbacks…everyone’s mixed in with the position coaches. That’s That’s how you continue to make this team stronger.”
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