ALAMEDA (KPIX) — EJ Manuel will start under center on Sunday at the Coliseum when the Raiders host the Ravens. (The game can be seen locally on KPIX at 1PM).

Manuel was signed by the Raiders in March and won the backup role in training camp. He’ll now be pressed into action as the team’s starter because Derek Carr broke a bone on his spine in Denver.

The 5-year NFL veteran was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the first round of the 2013 draft. Of the 17 games he started with the Bills, 10 of them came during his rookie season.

He threw 19 touchdowns and 16 interceptions with the Bills who declined to pick up his option in the offseason. Despite the underwhelming statistics, players in the Raiders locker room gave Manuel their vote of confidence.

“I’m glad it didn’t work out in Buffalo,” said Raiders tight end Lee Smith who was Manuel’s teammate with the Bills. “Because now that Derek’s banged up, we have a great quarterback to go to battle with.”

Smith admitted the absence of Carr has left the team without their leader.

“Nobody needs to be a hero now that Derek’s down,” he said. “The guy didn’t retire, he’s still here.”

Maybe the best perspective to the loss of Carr came from their kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson: “Sh– happens,” he said.

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