PITTSBURGH — Broderick Jones has arrived in Pittsburgh and he will officially wear the number 77, but that number is more than just another number for Jones, who will wear it to honor fallen teammate Devin Willock.
Willock, who was an offensive lineman at the University of Georgia along with Jones, was killed in a car accident in January along with recruiting analyst Chandler LeCroy after their car crashed into power poles. He was a redshirt sophomore at Georgia from New Milford, New Jersey, and played in all 15 games, including starting at right guard against Tennessee and Kentucky.
For Jones, his bond with Willock went above and beyond the game of football. As such, Jones wanted to honor Willock and allow him to live through him in his NFL journey in Pittsburgh.
“My roommate from the University of Georgia, he wore No. 77. It’s in honor of my teammate that passed,” Jones said. “He wore No. 77. No. 59 is not available. No. 77 was another option. I felt like I would do that for him, his family, and me. I want to let him live through me.”
Jones arrived in Pittsburgh on Friday morning and picked No. 77 immediately and for the reasons he outlined. It was a highly emotional time in Athens after the incident occurred and with Willock having been Jones’ teammate, it makes it all the more emotional.
Home for Broderick Jones is Lithonia, Georgia in suburban Atlanta, less than 20 miles east on Interstate 20 from where the Atlanta Falcons play and an hour from Athens, where Jones won two national championships with the Georgia Bulldogs, so the entire situation hit home for him.
Now with Pittsburgh, Jones hopes to make a career protecting Kenny Pickett and honoring his former teammate and friend in Willock. When Georgia offensive tackle Broderick Jones took his pre-draft visit to Pittsburgh and the Steelers’ UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side earlier this month, he immediately felt a connection with the place, and will now get to be there every day as a Steeler.