The third part of the story ofPittsburgh SteelersJersey Numbers shows the players who wore jersey numbers 20 through 29. Some have been Hall of Famers, some have been stars, while others have just been popular role players who have built a following. What all the players had in common was that they all proudly wore Pittsburgh Steelers jersey numbers.
Number 20 –Rock diapers
History of Pittsburgh Steelers Jersey Numbers: Volume Three begins withRock diapers. Bleier was the Steelers 16th round draft pick in 1968, outOur lady.In December of that year, Bleier was again drafted into combat by the US ArmyVietnam. On August 20, 1969 while on patrol with his platoonHeep Herzog, he was shot in the left thigh. Moments later, an enemy shell landed near him and exploded. Shrapnel exploded in his right lower leg, causing him to also lose part of his right foot. During recovery in aTokioAt the hospital, doctors told him his football career was over.
Soon after, Rocky received a postcard fromArt Rooneywhich read, "Rock, the team is not doing well. We need you," Art Rooney signed. After two painful years of rehab and two waivers, Rocky returned to the Steelers in 1971. Three years later, in 1974, Bleier became a starter. In 1976 Rocky joinedFrank Harrisat the 1000 yard club. They became only the second pair of running backs since 1972 to do so. Bleier won four Super Bowl rings during his career with the Steelers and retired after the 1980 season. At the time of his retirement, Bleier was the Steelers' fourth all-time leading rusher with 3,865 yards.
Number 21 –Tony Dungy:
Tony Dungyis best known as the Super Bowl-winning head coachIndianapolis Colts. However, his NFL start was a safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1977-78. During his two years, he was a contributing member of the Super Bowl XIII Champions. Dungy left the Steelers after the 1978 season. He played for the one yearsan francisco 49ersbefore retiring as part of the 1980'sNew York Giantsdrill squad.
Dungy was recognized as an intelligent player and therefore hired by himChuck Noll1981 to coach his secondary school. Dungy's performance earned him a promotion in 1984 when Noll appointed him defense coordinator. He was the first African American in NFL history to be named defensive coordinator. Dungy led an aggressive attacking-style defense that helped lead the Steelers to the '84 AFC Championship Game. He served as the Steelers' defensive coordinator until 1988.
Number 22 –Bobby Layne:
Bobby Laynewas originally drafted by the Steelers with the third overall pick in the 1948 NFL draft. Layne refused to play with the Steelers because they still ran the single-wing formation. The Steelers quickly traded his rights to theChicago Bears. 1957 head coachBuddy Parkerarranged a deal with theDetroit-Löwento bring Layne to Pittsburgh. Layne played five seasons with the Steelers, two of which he made the Pro Bowl. While he never led the Steelers to the playoffs, Layne brought them to seriousness.
Layne had a record of 27-22-2 with the Steelers and completed 569 of 1,156 passes for 9,030 yards. He threw 66 touchdowns and 81 interceptions. Layne was also credited with creating the two-minute exercise. In 1962 Layne was last with the Steelers and in the NFL, he published his biography "Always on Sunday". Layne later went on to say that his biggest regret was that he had never won a championship for the Steelers, and owner Art Rooney in particular.
Number 23 –Mike Wagner:
Mike Wagnerwas the 11th-round draft pick for the Steelers in 1971 and played for safety from 1971-1980. He was the signal caller for a legendary Steel Curtain defense that led Pittsburgh to four Super Bowl titles. Intelligent, physical, Wagner played 36 passes on the sideMel BlountAndDonnie Shell.He was a two-time Pro Bowl selection in 1975 and 1976. Wagner took the NFL lead in interceptions in 1973. In 2015, Wagner was inducted into the Pittsburgh Pro Football Hall of FameDermonti Dawson, Andy Russel, Ernie Mills,and Ansager Bill HillHain.
Number 24 –Ike Taylor:
Drafted by the Steelers in 2003,Ike Taylorwas an extremely raw but athletic prospect.Bill Cowherbelieved that Taylor could have an impact on secondary education. Taylor was a converted running back who played a season as a cornerback in college. Mainly used on special teams, with some spot duties on defense, Taylor cracked the starting lineup in 2005. He played a big part in helping the Steelers win their fifth Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl XL. In 2006, Taylor's game declined so much that he was benchedDe Shea Townsend.
Taylor regained his starting spot in 2007 under a new head coachMike Tomlin. Taylor holds the franchise record for consecutive postseason games (four) with an interception. The biggest blow to him was his ability to catch a soccer ball. Taylor played his entire career with the Pittsburgh Steelers. From 2007 to 2011, Taylor was one of the league's top shutdown corners. During his 12-year career, Taylor totaled 517 tackles, three sacks, 14 interceptions and recovered five fumbles.
Pittsburgh Steelers jersey numbers 25 – 29
Number 25 –Ron Shanklin:
Ron Shanklinwas undressedNorth Texasin the second round of the 1970 NFL draft. Shanklin spent five years with the Steelers, which coincided with the growing pains that plagued himTerry Bradshaw‘first five years. Due to Bradshaw's struggles, the Steelers never got to see the full skill that Shanklin possessed. Shanklin averaged 18.4 yards per catch, with a career-long reception of 81 yards. During his five years with the Steelers, Shanklin caught 166 passes for 3,047 yards and 24 touchdowns.
Number 26 –Rod Woodson:
When the Steelers were pickedRod WoodsonIn the 1987 NFL Draft, they knew they were going to get a special player. No one could have predicted that he would become the best all-around cornerback in NFL history. At six feet and 205 pounds, Woodson had a physical presence on the field. He was as adept at packing the barrel as he was at cover. Woodson played for the Steelers from 1987 to 1996. He went to the Pro Bowl seven times and was an All-Pro five times. In 1995, Woodson became the first player to return in the same season he underwent reconstructive knee surgery.
During the first game of 1995, Woodson tore his ACL while trying to tackle Detroit Lions running backBarry Sander. Coach Cohwer's refusal to put Woodson on the season-ending IR gave him a chance to play in Super Bowl XXX. During the game, Woodson resolved an intended passMichael Irwin.He jumped up and pointed to his surgically repaired knee, meaning it was good to go. During his ten years with the Steelers, Woodson caught 38 passes and returned five for touchdowns. Woodson was the ultimate shutdown corner and a key part of Pittsburgh's best defense since the '70s.
Number 27 –Glen Edwards:
Glen Edwardswas a great safetyman who played for the Steelers from 1971 to 1977Florida A&M, Edwards was very productive in Pittsburgh. During his seven seasons, Edwards was a two-time pro bowler in 1974–75. He was a 1976 AP first-team All-Pro and won two Super Bowl rings. In Super Bowl IX, Edwards continued as an assistMel Blount’s interception by a belting receiverJohn Gilliamjust as the ball arrived.
Edwards' end zone interception ofRoger Staubachin Super Bowl X, the Steelers retained their second consecutive championship. After the 1977 season, Edwards was traded to theSan Diego chargers.During his Steelers career, he had 25 interceptions, returning two for touchdowns. He also recovered eight fumbles and forced seven more.
Number 28 –Lupe Sánchez:
Guadalupe Ledezma"Lupe" Sanchezjoined the Steelers in 1986 as a free agent and played until 1988. The first action he saw with the Steelers was as a kick returner. In his three-year NFL career, Lupe returned 35 kickoffs for 778 yards, including a 64 long. As a safety, Sanchez played in 39 games, starting nine of them. He recorded four interceptions, including one for a touchdown.
Number 29 –Barry Foster
History of Pittsburgh Steelers Jersey Numbers: Volume Three ends withBarrySupport financially. Support financiallyCame to the Steelers in the 1990 NFL Draft. He blew up on the scene in 1992 after rushing for 1,690 yards and 11 touchdowns. While Foster wasn't exactly a year-old prodigy, he only rushed for 1,562 yards in his last two years with the Steelers. His career ended due to an ankle injury.
During his five-year career with Pittsburgh, Foster rushed for 3,943 yards on 915 carries and 26 touchdowns. Built like a bowling ball, Foster possessed a nice combination of speed and power. After leaving Pittsburgh, he retired.
This concludes the History of Pittsburgh Steelers Jersey Numbers: Volume Three. Although it's a bit lengthy, putting it together was a very interesting process. The next episode will cover some of the players who wore shirt numbers 30 through 39, inclusiveHieronymus Bettis.Go tosteelers.comfor the full list of players who wore Pittsburgh Steelers jersey numbers 20 through 29.