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Patrick Peterson Will Wear No. 20 with Steelers



Steelers Patrick Peterson

Newly signed Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Patrick Peterson will wear No. 20, the team announced on Thursday. It’s the same number that his cousin Bryant McFadden wore when he was with the Steelers in the mid-to-late 2000s. The Steelers released a video of Peterson picking his number in the equipment room.

The last Steelers player to wear No. 20 was Cam Sutton, who Peterson is replacing at cornerback. Sutton signed a three-year, $33 million contract with the Detroit Lions earlier this week. Baron Batch, Will Allen, Al-Hajj Shabazz and Robert Golden are the other Steelers players who have wore No. 20 since McFadden.

Peterson’s said on the “All Things Covered” podcast with McFadden that he wanted to rock No. 7 and go back to his college number from LSU, which didn’t go over well with Steelers Nation because of Ben Roethlisberger. Peterson quickly realized that No. 7 wasn’t up for grabs, however. No. 7 is special for Peterson because of his dad.

“When I got to my junior and senior year, I had a change of heart,” Peterson said. “Because my dad, he was No. 7, and he was a Blanche Ely High legend, as well … Being a kid, you always want to follow after your dad’s footsteps. When I got to high school, all you hear about is, ‘Man, Pat Pete used to this when he was in high school! He used to do that when he was in high school!’ I was like, man, when I get on varsity, I want to rock No. 7 and be just like Pops. That’s how seven grew on me very, very heavy.”

No. 2 and No. 21 were other numbers that Peterson considered. Throughout youth football, Peterson said he wore No. 2, mainly because Deion Sanders was his favorite athlete growing up and that was his number when he starred at Florida State. Peterson wore that number until his junior year of high school. Peterson wore No. 21 when he was with the Arizona Cardinals from 2011-2020.

With Mason Rudolph no longer on the team, No. 2 was available. Tre Norwood is No. 21, but Peterson probably could have gotten that number if he really wanted to. Instead, Peterson will pay homage to his cousin and wear No. 20. McFadden was a part of the Steelers’ 2005 and 2008 Super Bowl title teams, so Peterson knows all about the history and high standards of the organization.

“Any time you look at a Pittsburgh Steelers team you just think about the bruising mentality the defense brings,” Peterson said. “The bully mentality they bring. For years the defense has always been the identity of this organization. The offense has always had great players as well, but when you think of the Pittsburgh Steelers, it’s the Steel Curtain, guys like Troy Polamalu, James Harrison, James Farrior. I wanted to have my name be associated with those guys as well.”

Peterson, who will be entering his 13th season in the NFL, is a three-time Associated Press first-team All-Pro selection, making it in 2011 as a punt returner, and 2013 and 2015 as a corner. Peterson also made the Pro Bowl eight straight years from 2011-2018 while in Arizona. Peterson has 34 career interceptions, tied with Harrison Smith for the most interceptions of any active NFL player. He had five interceptions in 2022, the second-most of his career. In 2012 he recorded a career-high seven interceptions.

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