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Transcript: Austin Carr video conference call - Friday, May 8

Saints wide receiver speaks to media after returning to New Orleans

New Orleans Saints Wide Receiver Austin Carr
Zoom Call with New Orleans Media
Friday, May 8, 2020

What are your thoughts on re-signing and coming back to a team with a very similar makeup to the past few years?
"Yeah, definitely cool. As far as the receiver room, obviously losing Ted Ginn (Jr.) and his leadership as a vet is tough, but Emmanuel Sanders has a lot of experience and so I am looking forward to learning from him as I've learned from vets the past three years."

What has this past month been like for you and your family?
"Yeah, it's been pretty unusual. It wasn't the birth process that we expected. So just a little background, my wife, Erica, gave birth to our first child, our son, Clive, April 4th, and (it was) super exciting and everything. But, obviously with the pandemic and the quarantine and everything that's going on, just hospital protocols (are) a little bit different and checking in. She had to go ahead of me and get a Covid-19 test and after about an hour it came back positive and that sort of launches Ochsner (into immediate action) and that sort of launches them into sort of their Covid-19, protocol with a patient and they were amazing. I mean they were doing everything that they could to make sure that we were taken care of while also taking care of themselves, but it just meant that we were in the room alone a bit more. It meant that they had to have tons of, the whole sheet on themselves and then a facemask, double facemask with a face shield and everything, but luckily, Erica wasn't feeling under the weather. She wasn't feeling super sick and neither was I, (although) we're pretty sure I had it a little bit a little while ago, because I got an antibody test which came back positive. I don't know how credible it is, but from what I can tell it is and I also had symptoms, about a month before, maybe half a month before Clive was born. Clive's came back negative. All in all, we feel blessed and thankful for the healthcare workers who were looking out for us. We're grateful for a healthy mom, healthy baby and ultimately, just continuing on in life. Obviously, (we are) staying at home as much as we can."

What was the not knowing process like when you're waiting and you don't exactly know which way to turn and knowing what the test results are going to be in and all that kind of thing?
"You know, it's funny, I had a feeling I had it. I wasn't positive and like I wasn't certain that I had it and I never really had a fever. There's always that doubt, but I lost sense of taste and smell and that I had found out was one of the marquee symptoms. But, you're waiting for your result to come back and it's just like, well if I've got it, maybe that's good, maybe. (Maybe) I am going to get immunity and then, move on from this thing. Let me just make sure I don't pass it to anybody else. And my test came back negative like three days after he was born, but I think that I had it maybe a month ago. Like two weeks before Clive was born was when I had the symptoms mostly. And I'm guessing that I beat it then and was not going to test positive once I was tested. It was like April 8th or something and then obviously that's where I got the antibodies test cause there was like, okay, I have these symptoms, do I have it? And that confirmed that I do or I did. So at the end of the day I wasn't super nervous. I wasn't super afraid because just from everything I've read, from what you know, Governor John Bel Edwards (comments) to just articles (that) have said, NFL players aren't even at the highest risk. And the NFL PA hosted a great online chat where they brought a doctor on and he sort of explained everything that's going on and how even, I guess, obese people are maybe a little higher risk, well (at the time time) NFL lineman O-lineman, D-lineman and aren't at a higher risk necessarily because of their physiology. I'm just grateful for the healthcare system that we have to benefit from here."

What was your thought process to re-sign? Were you looking elsewhere?
"I know my agent was definitely communicating with other teams. I think the number one question for everybody was how's his ankle and how's he healing? It's kind of weird. It's funky during this time when other teams, I'm not working out for them because I can't, no one can travel right now and we just felt like the best opportunity and the best season, both collectively and individually would be had here in New Orleans. I love the program here and I love the guys. At the end of the day it was a fit."

Did Emmanuel Sanders signing here play a role or you just saw an opportunity?
"Yeah, you sort of look at where you're trending I think and that's really what I was thinking about. Where am I trending? Am I trending in a good direction in this program? And honestly, when I think of just how I've acclimated to the offense, built a rapport with Drew (Brees) and gotten better year by year. Those were sort of three boxes that you check and you say, okay, like this could definitely fit. Losing Ted (Ginn) obviously is tough, but gaining a Emmanuel (Sanders) is great too and I'm looking forward to learning from him."

How big of a setback was your ankle injury?
"It was definitely a tough injury that you never want to sideline you. But from the looks of it doesn't look like it's going to be a setback moving forward at all. My rehab has been going extremely well. Um, the medical staff with the Saints' facility have been able to supervise and direct my rehab over the last five months plus and it's been going double thumbs up. Obviously, Beau Lowery, has been supervising that and from everything he stands for everything, I feel even it's nearly a miracle just how much they did with my ankle, but how good I'm feeling and how excited I am to just get back. I mean it's a setback for that season. I wanted to finish the season. I wanted to be a part of the playoff push in 2019, but it's just going to have to wait to 2020 for me."

Did the injury slow the upward trajectory you were on prior to the ankle injury?
"That definitely (was) a roadblock for sure, but I see opportunity to improve as a receiver in the next three to four months regardless. Luckily, with the timing of everything, I'm going to have a good chunk of time this offseason to get real work in. It's not just rehab on my ankle, but that is the kind of nitty gritty route techniques, speed, explosion, hands, those kinds of things that you can work on in a typical offseason. I would say the setback is isolated to 2019, but for 2020, it's a new chapter."

How much of being here is you receiving an opportunity to learn as a football player here?
"It's invaluable obviously, the playbook's one thing, but then the feel is a whole other thing. I think that a lot of teams and a lot of even just quarterback/wide receiver position groups, having the chemistry like building that chemistry takes time. Knowing that chemistry takes a feel that honestly three years in, I'm still learning, three years in (to the system). I'm still getting the hang of it, but have a much better grasp now than I did, three years ago, obviously. Super important for me to learn. (It is) Super important for me to be a student of the game and super important to earn everyone's trust."

Do you feel poised to make that jump and take advantage of the opportunities?
"Definitely, I wouldn't sign with the Saints if I didn't think they had an effective, impactful role for me. I think it begins with Drew (Brees) and with grasping the offense. And then with proving yourself on the field, which I felt like I was making great headway with last season, especially preseason. But then it also translates to the kicking game as well and that's an area where I'm really focusing on showing what I can do. There are plenty of opportunities for me this season in the kicking game and I am looking to contribute there too."

The NFL new season schedule came out and which games are you really excited about?
"Oh man, you're always excited about your divisional opponents and our division has been shaken up quite a bit. We've got two new starting quarterbacks with the Panthers and Buccaneers. You're looking forward to just seeing what those games are going to go like. I'm from the West coast, so anytime we go out there, I get excited, going to (Las) Vegas, week two, I think that's Monday Night Football. That's super exciting and then even going to LA (Rams) during the preseason, if that works out. I always look forward to trips out there."

Are you excited to go back to Chicago?
"Yeah, that's right. I am wearing a Chicago shirt. I did not mention that. Yeah, going back to Chicago is always fun, chopping it up with Northwestern buddies there. Obviously, playing the Niners again and the Vikings. Those are huge games that we want to be at our best for. Yeah, lots of look forward."

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