Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is headed to Hawaii.
The second-year quarterback was named Wednesday as the injury replacement for the Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers and will participate in his first Pro Bowl on Jan. 31 in Honolulu.
“First, I want to thank God for the opportunity to be able to go to Hawaii,” Carr said in a statement released by the team. “Secondly, I want to thank my family, my friends, my teammates, my coaches and all of Raider Nation for their support. Third, I want to thank everyone who voted for me and all of the opposing players and coaches that voted for me. That means more to me than they know.”
Carr is the first Raiders quarterback to make the Pro Bowl since Rich Gannon made four straight appearances from 1999-2002. Gannon was the MVP for the last of those two appearances.
A Pro Bowl alternate when the teams were first selected, Carr now joins defensive end Khalil Mack and safety Charles Woodson in Hawaii. Fullback Marcel Reece was also initially selected but ruled ineligible following his suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Wide receiver Amari Cooper and running back Latavius Murray are also alternates who still could be added to the team.
There were no specifics announced regarding Rodgers’ injury although it’s not surprising to the see the five-time Pro Bowler and former Cal star bow out of the game following a season in which a Packers team riddled with injuries still fought to reach overtime of last week’s NFC Divisional playoff game with the Arizona Cardinals.
That opens the door for the first career appearance for Carr, who threw for 3,987 yards this season, the third-highest single-season total in franchise history. He was tied for seventh in the league with 32 touchdown passes and posted a passer rating of 91.1.
Carr made impressive strides following his promising rookie season. He started all 16 games again in 2015 and is now the first Raiders offensive player to start all 32 over his first two NFL seasons.
Carr averaged a solid 7.0 yards per attempt, a major upgrade after he was last in the league as a rookie at 5.5 per pass. His passer rating jumped nearly 15 points from last season’s 76.6 and he was a far more effective downfield passer, leading the NFL with 13 touchdown passes of 25 or more yards.
Through two seasons, Carr’s 53 touchdown passes are the second-most in NFL history behind only Miami Dolphins’ Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino (68). His 698 completions in two seasons moved him ahead of the Indianapolis Colts’ Andrew Luck for the most all-time.