Raiders QB Aidan O’Connell explains why he switched out of Derek Carr’s number

There wasn’t much love lost between Derek Carr and the Las Vegas Raiders last year, when the longtime franchise quarterback shown the door after being benched for the last few weeks of the 2022 season. And that relationship splintered further when rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell put on Carr’s No. 4 jersey just months after Carr left to join the New Orleans Saints.

But O’Connell switched to No. 12 this offseason. He shared his reasoning on his teammate Maxx Crosby’s podcast, saying that it wasn’t his decision to pick No. 4 in the first place, and he hopes this gesture is seen as a respectful nod to Carr.

“I just didn’t want to be four anymore. I didn’t pick four, I was actually nine,” O’Connell recounted, “and then Tyree (Wilson) wanted nine, so they gave nine to Tyree in like the first week I was here last year, and they gave me four. I was a rookie, you kind of just do what you’re told. It was Derek’s number and he wore it for so long, he’s a franchise leader and all this stuff. It felt disrespectful. So I just wanted to give that back to him.”

O’Connell and Carr will cross paths in 2024 when the Raiders visit the Caesars Superdome for a late-season game in Week 17. Kickoff is scheduled for Dec. 29 at noon.

Look at the Raiders’ history books and you’ll see that no quarterback appeared in more games (142) than Carr did. He attempted more passes (4,958) than the second- and third-place quarterbacks combined (4,929 between Ken Stabler and Rich Gannon). He also owns the franchise record for touchdown passes by a wide margin (217 against Stabler’s 150). Carr never found postseason success with the Raiders, but he did give them stability under center that ex-head coach Josh McDaniels was all too eager to shake up.

Carr’s No. 4 jersey has been reissued by the Raiders since O’Connell gave it up, with veteran wide receiver Jalen Guyton choosing it. At least it isn’t another quarterback. It feels like a long shot for Carr to earn the same level of respect that Drew Brees and Archie Manning have in New Orleans, where no player will ever wear Nos. 9 or 8, but that does go to show the difference in how each organization treats its players.

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire