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Raiders QB changes number as nod to Carr: ‘It felt disrespectful’

Raiders quarterback Aidan O’Connell changed his number this offseason out of respect for his predecessor.

O’Connell was assigned No. 4 as a rookie last season, the same number Derek Carr wore as the team’s franchise passer for almost a decade. O’Connell switched to No. 12 ahead of his sophomore campaign. He was wearing that number during the Raiders’ organized team activity at their Henderson facility Tuesday.

“When the offseason came, it felt to me it was Derek’s number,” O’Connell said during an appearance on teammate Maxx Crosby’s “The Rush” podcast. “He wore it for that long and he’s a franchise leader and all that stuff. It felt disrespectful, so I just wanted to kind of give that back to him.”

O’Connell doesn’t have much of a connection to No. 12 except for wearing the jersey for a brief time in little league. But there wasn’t much tying him to No. 4, either.

In fact, O’Connell said he was given No. 9 when he first reported to rookie minicamp last year. Then he was told defensive lineman and first-round pick Tyree Wilson requested that number.

O’Connell was handed a No. 4 jersey instead. He realized right away it had become synonymous with Carr.

“I just didn’t want to be (No.) 4 anymore,” O’Connell said. “I didn’t pick four.

“As a rookie you just kind of do what you’re told, so I was cool with it.”

Carr, a 2014 second-round pick, was the Raiders starting quarterback for nine seasons. He made the Pro Bowl four times and has the most passing yards (35,222) and passing touchdowns (217) in franchise history. Carr was released last offseason and signed with the Saints.

O’Connell, a 2023 fourth-round pick, took over as the Raiders starter after coach Josh McDaniels was fired Oct. 31. He went 5-4 down the stretch while throwing 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He will battle veteran Gardner Minshew to retain the starting job in training camp.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on X.

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