David Carr’s days are hectic.
He rises before the sun and lays his head down late at night. In between, from meetings and phone calls to kids and their activities to work at home and away, the responsibilities are endless.
But he wouldn’t change it for the world.
The former NFL quarterback traded cleats and pads for a suit and tie in 2013 and hasn’t looked back.
A Football Life
During Carr’s career with the Fresno State Bulldogs, he completed 565 of 901 passes for 7,849 yards and threw 65 touchdowns versus 22 interceptions. He won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and was a finalist for the 2001 Heisman Trophy. In 2007, the Bulldogs retired #8 in Carr’s honor.
His acclaimed college career caught the eye of the expansion team Houston Texans and earned him the designation of first-overall pick in the 2002 NFL Draft. It takes years to solidify an expansion team, as everything from the front office to the long snapper is assembled piece by piece. Some of them don’t fit.
Carr was an athletic specimen — he ran a 4.67-second 40 at the NFL Combine and had a rocket for an arm. He was, however, a pure pocket passer; his talents at quarterback were best displayed from inside the pocket. During his time as a starter, he rarely had the time to get the ball out before the pocket collapsed around him, and the luxury of an offensive line that could protect him was one that was not afforded to him. Thus, Carr coped with constant harassment from defenses and was sacked 267 times during his career.
In 2006, Carr led the league with a career-high 68.9% completion rating and tied the single-game NFL record of 22 consecutive pass completions.
Despite that success, the Texans finished the season at 6-10 and released Carr after five seasons. For the first time in his pro career, he was a free agent.
After a brief time with the Carolina Panthers, Carr was off to the New York Giants for what would be the first of two stints as the backup to Eli Manning. He headed west to the San Francisco 49ers in 2010 before he returned to New York the following season. The timing could not have been better; Carr became a Super Bowl champion when the Giants beat the New England Patriots in 2012. The next season, Carr was waived and, subsequently, called it a career.
Carr could have remained in the NFL waiting for his next chance to start, but he wanted to be able to focus on the most critical aspect of his life. “One of the main reasons I stopped playing is because my oldest son was going to be in high school, and I wanted to be able to be with him and watch him play and go through his high school experience,” Carr said.
Carr didn’t achieve the success he would’ve liked while in the NFL, but that’s far behind him. His offensive line these days is his family – the best line he’s ever had. They communicate in the huddle and provide him time to make life’s plays.
His family life, which is of paramount importance, closely mirrors the one he grew up with – loving, supportive, and nurturing. He and his wife see to it that their kids to experience that same environment.
In 1999, Carr married his high school sweetheart, Melody. They have five children ranging in age from two to 18.
Carr is involved in every aspect of his kids’ lives. He teaches them how to be handy around the house, fixing things, and doing chores. He works with them on homework and projects, fitness and athletics, and keeps them cultured with art and history museums.
One would think raising five children would be a tough enough business, but Carr also works tirelessly as a philanthropist and entrepreneur.
It All Started With An Idea
Carr always had an athletic mindset. Like many kids growing up, he enjoyed staying active by playing sports. For a youngster, the backyard is a perfect spot to throw the ball around with parents and siblings. But as kids get older, the yard isn’t ideal.
“By the time you’re 10, you need more than your backyard,” said Carr. “You need some space, especially when you hit baseballs. You’re going to start breaking windows. We broke plenty of windows, too, and my mom is not too happy about that still to this day.”
There should be a place that you can go for this and all different sports, Carr thought. “That’s what kind of got my wheels turning a little bit.”
While at Fresno State, the quarterback looked to his wide receiver, Eric Mahanke, on the field as well as off. “Eric wanted to be in the training field when he was done playing,” explained Carr. “Before he graduated, he started learning the field as a strength and conditioning assistant (at Fresno State).”
A dozen-plus years before opening Carr Elite, the two discussed plans for starting a facility. “I thought about that for a long time and drew up some different designs of what it might look like,” said Carr.
Facility Becomes Reality
Before Carr Elite opened and was still in the seed stages, their first client was Carr’s youngest brother and current Oakland Raiders quarterback, Derek Carr. Derek has stated in interviews that his brother was instrumental to the preparation and training that led up to the draft and has significantly helped with training and experience since. He was drafted 36th overall by the Oakland Raiders and has excelled at his position since.
“I was 12 years ahead of him,” said Carr of Derek. “I just wanted to give him a roadmap of what to expect as he went into the NFL, as he got ready for the Combine and the draft.”
“He was almost like the guinea pig for (Carr Elite),” Carr said. “Like okay, Let’s see if we can train this kid and get him into shape for the NFL combine and prepare him for his NFL career.”
After years of kicking around the idea of opening a training facility, Carr and Derek partnered to bring Carr Elite to the heart of the Central Valley in 2013, now two locations strong. He longed for a place like this while he was growing up, so he made it happen.
“It’s great because kids now have a place to go after school,” said Carr. “We want to give the kids confidence and the chance to be successful at whatever they decide to do, whether it’s rock, paper, scissors, or tag, or anything when they’re in elementary schools all the way up to becoming a professional athlete.”
Carr uses his experience as a player – good and bad – to teach the kids of Central Valley the ways of fitness and athletics. For those with professional aspirations, he offers an invaluable glimpse into their futures.
“We have good relationships with all the high school coaches in the area, and we just give them an idea of what’s ahead of them.”
Carr Elite’s philosophy is encompassed in teamwork, being active, and learning lessons so that they can go through life exuding confidence and spreading positivity – whether it’s in daily occurrences or sports.
Carr knows the young boys and girls don’t need to start working out at their age. Instead, he wants activity to be fun and motivational. “We help them understand how their body moves; teach them that moving around, and exercise is fun. It’s essential, and your body will feel better if you do.”
Carr Elite trains various age ranges of athletes at every level and in every sport, from softball and baseball, football and soccer, lacrosse, gymnastics, volleyball, to diving and golf. The premiere staff – including Mahanke at head strength and conditioning coach – creates programs based on the athlete’s fitness, conditioning, and strength goals.
Additionally, there are adult fitness options for beginner to advanced levels. For individuals looking to lose weight, gain strength, and follow a path to proper nutrition, the facility offers plans and guidance every step of the way.
Due to his frenzied schedule, Carr doesn’t have as much time to dedicate to the facility as he would like. He has his hands in many philanthropic efforts and various business ventures within the Central Valley community.
Making A Lasting Impact
It seems there is no limit to the amount of good Carr can do. When it comes to philanthropy, Carr prefers to remain under the radar; he hustles hard without seeking publicity. He and his wife donate to various charity organizations, anonymously and quietly.
Carr is heavily involved at Valley Children’s Healthcare in Fresno and Dignity Health in Bakersfield. He not only has a business relationship with them but participates in many of their health awareness programs and visits hospitalized children.
He is also involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, juvenile diabetes (three of his children are afflicted), and numerous churches and youth ministries.
Furthermore, Carr has business relationships with EECU (Educational Employees Credit Union) and real estate investment firm, Realty Concepts, which also involve philanthropic activities.
“What I’m trying to do is just better our community, better the people around us because that’s stuff that makes a lasting impact,” said Carr. “I don’t remember the cool things people gave me growing up. It’s hard to remember what I got for Christmas, aside from the Nintendo. Nintendo was cool.”
“I remember the impact they had on my life,” he continued. “I remember guys like my high school offensive coordinator, Dave Lonsinger. He saw some ability and potential. He really taught me about NFL offense and collegiate offense and how to understand progressions and what to look at.”
“I remember him spending extra time with me after practice that didn’t have to; when he could’ve been with his family. He didn’t get paid extra for this.”
Undoubtedly there are kids now, and in the future, who look up to Carr for the time he has spent with them, much like he thinks back to the time Lonsinger spent with his younger self.
Carr is highly thought of among his peers. Ask any of Carr’s colleagues or business partners, and they’ll all echo the same sentiments – he is humble, intellectual, generous, and dependable and has a tremendous work ethic. His kindness stems from his nature and desire to be good to everyone he can, and his success stems from preparing at a level of excellence in everything he does.
All The Rest
In 2016, Carr joined the NFL media as an analyst on the NFL Network and for NFL.com. He appears regularly on various network shows, including “Around The NFL” and “NFL Total Access“.
When he’s not filming in Culver City, Carr is at home in Bakersfield. When he’s not at Carr Elite, you’ll find him at Bakersfield Christian High School, where he became offensive coordinator for the Eagles football team in 2015.
As with Carr Elite, coaching the Eagles is a family affair. His younger brother, Darren, is head coach; dad, Rodger, is quarterbacks coach. Carr’s son, Tyler, is a wide receiver and free safety. Derek was also a 2009 graduate of Bakersfield Christian.
The NFL Network has granted Carr the flexibility to remain offensive coordinator for the Eagles.
“The NFL Network has been great because they’ve allowed me to talk about football on Mondays and Thursdays and do stuff with media. When I’m not there on Tuesday and Wednesday, I’m able to practice with the Bakersfield Christian High School, and then on Fridays, I’m able to coach the games.”
Carr prefers the sidelines to the stands – for good reason. “It’s just been a blast to be around those kids and be able to coach my son because, honestly, I’m probably going to sit in the stands and complain about the coaching anyway.”
“I might as well call the plays, so I can just be mad at myself after the game,” Carr said with a laugh. “It’s probably better that way.”
- FOLLOW DAVID CARR ON LINKEDIN (@DCELITE) & TWITTER (@DCARR8)
- FOLLOW CARR ELITE ON TWITTER & INSTAGRAM @CARRELITE
From the perspective of the former players, Athletes to Entrepreneurs is a recurring series that delves into life after professional sports. Brought to you by Brick Media.
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