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Haener Says Joining the Saints and Carr Is ‘a Dream Come True’

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Fresno State's Jake Haener, right, will have an opportunity to learn from Bulldogs legend Derek Carr in the QB room of the New Orleans Saints. (GV Wire Composite/Paul Marshall)
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In what Fresno State’s Jake Haener says is a “dream come true,” the pass-slinging quarterback is headed to the New Orleans Saints.

The Saints traded up in the fourth round of the NFL draft to grab Haener with the 127th overall pick on Saturday.

Not only will Haener be in the same QB room as all-time Fresno State great Derek Carr, but his first NFL opportunity comes with the team he rooted for as a kid.

“The Saints were my childhood growing up because I loved watching No. 9 (Drew Brees) plays. It’s just so unbelievable,” Haener said at his introductory Saints news conference. “I literally wore Brees jerseys, I wore Saints beanies. Having the opportunity to go play in New Orleans is going to be a dream come true.”

 

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As Haener further explained it, he wore No. 9 in high school and college in a tribute to Brees — his favorite QB — and he later broke down some of Brees’ 2019 game film with the future Hall of Famer, saintswire.com reported.

Haener said that Carr was one of the first to congratulate him on getting drafted by the Saints. He added that Carr was a “sounding board” for him throughout his college career.

“He told me that if I ever needed anything, he would be there for me,” Haener said of his relationship with Carr after he transferred to Fresno State from Washington.

The Saints will head into their 2023 season camp with Carr as the starter and former starter Jameis Winston as the No. 2 QB. Winston reworked his contract last month so that he could return to the Saints. That will give the Saints a year to evaluate Haener and prep him for the backup role should Winston leave at the end of the season.

New Orleans also has Taysom Hill, the tight end/QB/running back who has been highly productive as the NFL’s “Human Swiss Army Knife.”

Carr signed a four-year contract with the Saints worth up to $150 million in March. That move came after a messy divorce from the Las Vegas Raiders, with which he set many franchise passing records.

 

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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