It took Mason Rudolph two months to re-sign with the Pittsburgh Steelers after first hitting free agency back in March, but it took him a lot less time to get his old uniform number back as the team handed out digits to their newest group of signees on Wednesday.
Rudolph re-claimed the familiar No. 2 that he has worn since he first came to Pittsburgh drafted in the third-round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Undrafted free agent quarterback Tanner Morgan out of Minnesota had worn No. 2 during rookie minicamp. That’s the uniform number he wore with the Golden Gophers. Instead, he’ll switch to No. 5, which was last worn for the Steelers by fellow backup quarterback Josh Dobbs from 2017-21.
Wide receiver Hakeem Butler, signed out of the XFL after leading the spring league in touchdowns, will become the first Steelers wideout in decades to wear a uniform number in the 20s. Butler will wear No. 21, as all of the jerseys in the 80s and teens are already spoken for. The Steelers also have a No. 21 on defense in third-year defensive back Tre Norwood. If both players make the 53-man roster, one will eventually have to make a change.
NFL wide receivers have only been allowed to wear numbers in the 20s since a change to the rules ahead of the 2022 season. The last Steelers wide receiver to wear a number in the 20s was Dwight Stone, who was eligible to keep his No. 20 after moving from running back to wide receiver. Stone played for the Steelers from 1987-94.
Other recent signees included cornerback Luq Barcoo and defensive end Manny Jones. Barcoo, who signed with the Steelers after a season with the San Antonio Brahmas, is wearing No. 35 two weeks after the Steelers cut Art Maulet at the same position.
Manny Jones, a former Arizona Cardinals defensive end, will wear No. 72 with the Steelers. The No. 75 that Jones wore with the Cardinals is unavailable in Pittsburgh, as it was retired for Hall of Fame defensive tackle Joe Greene. The last player to wear No. 72 for the Steelers was tackle Trent Scott in 2022.