Derek Carr, Erik McCoy 'have no issue' after sideline rift

ByKatherine Terrell ESPN logo
Sunday, December 10, 2023

NEW ORLEANS -- New Orleans Saints quarterback Derek Carr and starting center Erik McCoy said there's no issue between them after the two were caught on camera yelling at each other in the third quarter of the Saints' 28-6 win against the Carolina Panthers.

McCoy told reporters in the locker room after the game that he "lost his cool" and said a public fight deserved a public apology. McCoy apologized to Carr via reporters in the locker room and said they were both on the same page.

Carr did not elaborate on what caused the spat, saying both players had their reasons for being upset. He also said that it had already been resolved.

"We were both right for an aspect, we were both wrong for an aspect, but that's not the only time that's ever happened between a player or an offensive lineman or a center. That stuff happens," Carr said. "Those moments are going to happen, you can have conflict sometimes, confrontation. Always circle back. So we circled back, we looked at each other, we both smiled. We both already knew. But with all the cameras around that stuff gets caught sometimes. But it's no problem. It's all good."

Carr was sacked on third-and-2 with 3:43 left in the third quarter. The Saints, up 14-6 at the time and struggling on offense, elected to punt. McCoy was seen yelling at Carr as the offense walked off the field, and offensive lineman James Hurst inserted himself in between them, placing a hand on McCoy's arm.

McCoy walked to the bench with the other offensive linemen and slammed his helmet down, while Carr went the other way and sat down with the quarterbacks. A few players, including running back Alvin Kamara, came over to talk to McCoy.

Carr walked over and sat down with McCoy on the bench a few minutes later, and both resumed play as normal when the offense took the field again. Later in the fourth quarter, after the Saints had pulled away from the Panthers, Carr was seen standing next to the offensive linemen on the bench chatting and smiling.

"Me and Erik have no issue," Carr said. "In the moment, something happened. The reason doesn't matter. Everybody wants to know the why. It doesn't matter. We were both right, we were both wrong, at the same time, we both were like 'My bad.' ... and that was it. And I've done that with my two older brothers probably 50 times in my life, and it happens. When it's in a frustrating moment and that kind of happens, it is intensified, as I've learned. Because people want to know 'Oh no, what's wrong?' There really is nothing wrong. We had a moment. I've had moments in my 10 years a lot of times, with a coach, a teammate, somebody ... and I always learned you circle back, you make it right and you keep going."

Saints coach Dennis Allen said the incident was just a moment of frustration caught on camera when things weren't going their way. Carr was 12-of-18 for 37 passing yards, no touchdowns and an interception when the spat occurred. He finished the game 18-of-26 for 119 yards, one interception and two touchdowns.

"I think if you're ever in a highly competitive environment, and things aren't going the way that you want it to go, yeah, there's sometimes that you get frustrated," Allen said. You lash out a little bit. I'm glad that both of them have the balls to at least stand up and fight, you know what I mean? ... My wife and I argue. It happens. So let's don't make too much of it."

Carr has left three games with injuries and has been caught on camera multiple times this season expressing moments of frustration. He left a Week 3 loss to the Green Bay Packers with a shoulder injury and did not finish a Week 10 loss to the Minnesota Vikings after being placed in concussion protocol. Last week Carr left a loss to the Detroit Lions with another concussion, along with rib and shoulder injuries.

Carr said that he fractured a rib against the Lions and has three total fractured ribs, two of which occurred earlier this season in an unknown game.

"The other two, no one even knew, I played through them. The one was last week against Detroit," he said. [The other two weren't] in those two games. It was a different game."

This is not the first time this season that a similar issue has occurred. Carr was seen on video talking animatedly to Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael in a Week 6 loss to the Houston Texans. In the video, shot from the stands, Carr spoke briefly to Carmichael and gestured toward the end zone after Carmichael walked away.

Carr said later that he apologized to Carmichael later that day but explained he was frustrated when speaking to Carmichael but was not directing his frustration at him.

Carr was also seen on camera yelling toward wide receiver Chris Olave in a Week 7 primetime loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars the following week. Carr said that his frustration was not directed at Olave, who did not run through the duration of the route, according to Allen.

"I have been showing my emotions a little too much on my sleeve," Carr said after that game. "I have got to kind of chill out and that's me holding myself accountable because that's not going to help anything."

The Saints (6-7) snapped a three-game losing streak with the win. They play the New York Giants at home next week.