ALAMEDA -- Lost in terms of a national scope amid a 4-10 season and the remarkable comebacks of players such as Denver quarterback Peyton Manning and Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson is the tale of Raiders defensive end Andre Carter.

Carter, 33, had surgery for a torn quadriceps late last season after being named to the Pro Bowl with the New England Patriots. It could have been a career-ender, but there was Carter pressuring Brady Quinn against the Kansas City Chiefs, getting his first sack and playing 32 of 44 snaps.

He has improved steadily since signing Sept. 26 and is getting some gratifying feedback during the postgame handshakes from opponents who are impressed.

"To still be playing after 12 years in this business is a blessing," Carter said. "To get compliments from your peers is nice. You're doing something special when people mention your play."

Unlike knee surgeries where the rehab begins immediately, Carter's quadriceps required eight months of immobilization. Then came the arduous process of stretching the repaired muscle back out.

"I was going though so much excruciating pain, fighting the atrophy, just being on the table and having a guy force your leg to be put in a position it didn't want to go," Carter said. "I was hooting, hollering and crying."

Signed for just one season, Carter would like to return, and both coach Dennis Allen and defensive coordinator Jason Tarver have lauded the way he mentors young linemen.


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Having started his career as a rookie first-round pick with the 49ers in 2001, Carter would like to end it on the other side of the bay.

"It's a great organization," Carter said. "Granted, the record is not how we wanted to be, but I just think we're headed in the right direction. We've got great players and great coaches. This is where it all started for me, so it all comes full circle."

  • Defensive tackle Richard Seymour missed Thursday's practice with a hamstring strain, making it likely he'll miss his seventh straight game. Allen did not rule out the possibility of Seymour ending the season on injured reserve, where he'd likely end the Raiders portion of his NFL career.

    Seymour's contract voids after the season, making him a free agent.

  • Strong safety Tyvon Branch remains out with an ankle injury, but could practice Friday and is likely to play against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

  • Place-kicker Sebastian Janikowski won the fan portion of the Pro Bowl balloting, with the final voting, which includes players and coaches, being announced next week.

  • Offensive coordinator Greg Knapp said if Terrelle Pryor plays against Carolina, it would more likely be on a spot basis for specific down-and-distance or red zone plays, rather than an entire series.

    For more on the Raiders, visit the Inside the Oakland Raiders blog at ibabuzz.com/oaklandraiders. Follow Jerry McDonald on twitter at Twitter.com/Jerrymcd.