David Carr said he had every opportunity to remain with the New York Giants. He could have been Eli Manning's back up for seven or eight years. He could have made good money and lived in New York and given his kids a great life. But he decided against the comfortable lifestyle.
"It was time to go out and push myself a little bit," Carr said today in his first media appearance in the Bay Area. "I wanted to see what was out there." Carr said that San Francisco and Arizona were at the top of his list and that Cleveland was probably third. He said he wanted to play close to home - he grew up in Bakersfield and played at Fresno State - and wanted to play for a team where there was room for advancement.
Carr said he was given assurance by Mike Singletary that the quarterback positions are not locked down. "That's one of the first questions I asked when I came out here," Carr said when asked about the opportunity to compete for a starting job. "And I didn't word it that way. The way I worded it was, 'Are my actions on the field going to matter?' Because the last two years being with Eli - and he's been entrenched, won a Super Bowl. We had a good time. But it felt like sometimes when I went out to practice that it didn't really matter what I did. ... I kind of wanted to feel in my next stop, my last stop in my head, is I want my actions to matter. For me, I got the right answer from (Singletary), that 'You can go out there and compete and, yeah, we're going to pay attention to what you do.' After that, I was good. That's all I needed to hear."
Asked if he has been told he will compete for the starting job, Carr said this: "Specifically those words haven't been said. But they have said that competition is what they love around here. ... One of Singletary's things is iron sharpens iron, so ..."
On Alex Smith: "I worked out with him this morning. I think I met him once or twice before just in passing, maybe a Super Bowl event or something else. But we had a great workout and it was fun to push each other. But he seems like a good guy."
On Patrick Willis' Twitter welcome: Carr said he fielded a phone call from Willis while in GM Scot McCloughan's office on March 6. "I understand he's definitely passionate about winning and he's protecting his teammates. ... He was very apologetic. I told him, 'You don't have to apologize for anything. ... It's my job to change your mind.'"
On Singletary: "Coach Singletary in particular has a great plan for this team. His heart's in the right place. He seems like a great guy, a man of faith and that's something I believe in, too, strongly. I feel like I'm in this position for a reason and I think he does, too. Hopefully it can work out.
Carr said he would watch games with Manning last season and the two would try to identify the up and comers. "He was trying to find me a job, too. This is a good spot. This team has a lot of talent on both sides of the ball. ... I wanted to make it my best trip because honestly I got the best feeling from them out of all the teams. There was definitely interest from both sides from all the teams. San Francisco never varied, never wavered. There was never any lack of confidence in me, so as a player that's what you always want."
Carr said he questioned whether he wanted to be a quarterback in 2007 when he was with the Panthers. "I was wondering if this is what I wanted to do. Because it wasn't fun any more. I could always play but the excitement wasn't there. But when I went to New York, got around some awesome guys, some awesome coaches that believed in me, that never showed a lack of confidence in me. That's why when I went on the field we had success. Those last two years in New York were great - they recharged my batteries for my career. Now I feel like my talent level and my experience level are right next to each other."
Carr played with fullback Moran Norris in Houston. He also played alongside free-agent guard Chester Pitts, who is due to visit the 49ers Thursday. "Yeah, I called Chester and I think it's awesome. He's a great football player. I know that when we were in Houston a lot of those guys got bad rap because we gave up so many sacks and were struggling. In reality, they were moving around so much. Chester was really the one guy who stayed in his position that played every snap up until last year."
In terms of the offensive system, Carr said that the overall philosophy was similar to that of the Giants. He said he hasn't run a digit system since Jeff Tedford ran the offense at Fresno State. "Play-wise, I'll pick up the lingo in a couple of weeks," he said. "It'll probably be a little rough at first. It is a system that I haven't verbally communicated, but I'll figure it out."
-- Matt Barrows