Today there were a couple familiar faces with new numbers at Raiders OTA practice. When number 55 took the field it wasn’t Marquel Lee, it was Vontaze Burfict who managed to wrangle his old Bengals number away from Lee.
With the number 55 surrendered to Burfict, Lee grabbed a number that wasn’t available to him when he was selected in the 5th round of the 2017 draft. He took the number 52 which until just prior to the season opener last year was worn by Khalil Mack. That’s when the All Pro edge rusher was unceremoniously traded to the Bears for two first round picks.
The number 52 was left unclaimed up to this point, undoubtedly because few were crazy about the idea of being the next guy to wear it after Mack. It Lee wanted a number in the 50s, he could do a straight up swap for number 51 which Burfict had worn or go with 52 and 57. All others were claimed.
For Burfict, he gets the number to which he clearly had grown attached during his seven seasons in Cincinnati. It probably felt pretty strange wearing number 51 after so many years in the same number. So, now he’s got it back.
Two of the most famous Raiders middle linebackers in franchise history wore the number 55 — Dan Conners (RIP) and Matt Millen.