The offseason is here, and it can be the belle of the ball to some fans: myself included.
To other fans, however, it is the dry season. So, I decided it would be fun to do a series listing the best Steelers players to wear each jersey number from 00 to 99, as voted on by us here at Steel City Underground.
The series begins with jerseys numbered from 00-9 and will continue in ten-number increments until we get to the end, so be sure to check back as we continue to revisit some great, and maybe some not-so-remembered, names from the past.
Jersey #10: Santonio Holmes
This was a difficult one to pick, as Kordell Stewart and Roy Gerela were both in play here. Ultimately the determining factor for me came down to Holmes’ Super Bowl MVP and that fantastic catch to win the game. He finished his Steelers career with 235 receptions for 3,835 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Jersey #11: Markus Wheaton
So you’re starting to get the feeling that not every jersey number is going to have a Pro-Bowl caliber player, although Wheaton did have two moderately successful seasons in Pittsburgh. As a standout sprinter at his high school, he won several awards. However, his best year in Pittsburgh came in 2014 when he posted a 53-644-2 line.
Jersey #12: Terry Bradshaw
If anybody other than Terry Bradshaw were listed here, I would understand if you stoned me to death. He may have struggled to spell, but he could certainly play football. The 4-Time Super Bowl champion and Hall of Fame quarterback is one of the best in franchise history. Not much else is needed here.
Jersey #13: James Washington
Another new era wide receiver makes the list. Before recent times, the only players that typically wore numbers in the teens were quarterbacks or kickers/punters, which leaves very few to select from. Let’s talk about Washington though. The receiver transformed his body in the 2019 offseason while on the farm and came in ready to play. He showed his contested catch ability, vertical ability and overall talent that got him drafted. His career is just getting started, and he could blossom into something truly special.
Jersey #14: Neil O’Donnell
This is a name sure to stir up some emotions in Steelers Nation. In 1995 he did throw for a 17/7 TD:INT ratio, leading the team to the Super Bowl. I will spare you from bringing up the gory details of that game again. Since his retirement, he has started selling Field Turf out of Tennessee, which is where he resides.
Jersey #15: Bobby Shaw
You may have actually forgotten about Bobby Shaw until just now, and he didn’t wear the number 15 for his entire Steelers career. (In fact, we couldn't even find a photo with him wearing it!)
However, he wore it long enough and did just enough to get the nod here. In 2000, he tied Hines Ward for the team lead in receiving yards with 672.
Jersey #16: Mark Malone
Malone was supposed to be the heir to Bradshaw and continue the winning tradition in Pittsburgh. It didn’t work out as planned, but then if everything did everyone to play the game would be Hall-worthy. Malone did surpass 10,000 career passing yards, however, which in the ’80s is an accomplishment. Post career Malone has had several analyst jobs in professional football, most recently in the Alliance of American Football (AAF).
Jersey #17: Mike Wallace
In his Steelers career, Wallace averaged over 17 yards per reception, a feat that is difficult for any receiver to accomplish. When you possess the speed that Wallace did, however, all you had to do was simply run past people. And he did that. A lot. Wallace signed with the Eagles in 2018 but never saw the field and hasn’t played since 2017. However, he still remains in the top 10 on the team in career receiving yards.
Jersey #18: Mike Tomczak
Fun fact here for you, while Tomczak was never a pro bowl quarterback, he was the offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Power until the league folded.
Jersey #19: JuJu Smith-Schuster
One of the most fun players to watch on and off the field, JuJu is quickly becoming a star. While he had a down year in 2019 (who didn’t?), he still should be counted as an emerging superstar. With Ben back at the helm in 2020, expect a resurgence for the young wideout. Even at such a young age, he just barely gets the nod here over Tyler Grisham (kidding, of course).