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Steelers Transactions

Three New Steelers Get Assigned Uniform Numbers



Pittsburgh Steelers helmet at practice on Oct. 29, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers will have a ton of new faces when they take to the practice field at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex for the first time in Week 12 on Wednesday, as they get set to visit the Cincinnati Bengals in a crucial AFC North battle.

Those new faces will have new jersey numbers. Here’s the breakdown:

LB Blake Martinez, 40

Martinez is in his eighth NFL season after stops with the Green Bay Packers, New York Giants and Las Vegas Raiders. He has worn 50 and 54 in his NFL career, but those were already claimed in Pittsburgh by linebackers Elandon Roberts and Kwon Alexander.

The last Steelers player to wear 40 was linebacker Tyler Murray, who wore it during his one-week stint on the practice squad. Before that, outside linebacker David Perales had it during training camp, the preseason and during his time on the practice squad.

The last Steelers player to wear 40 in a regular-season game was linebacker Jamir Jones in 2021. The two Steelers players to make the biggest impact in the 40 jersey were safety Myron Bell, who wore it from 1994-97, and tight end Preston Carpenter from 1960-63.

DB Henry Black, PS, 5

The Steelers were very pointed about not allowing defensive players to wear low uniform numbers this offseason, forcing Alexander and Patrick Peterson into more traditional jerseys after they wore low numbers at their previous stops.

But maybe that stance is relaxing. Linebacker Myles Jack was given No. 16 and now Black will wear No. 5, which hasn’t been worn since quarterback Tanner Morgan was released after training camp.

It hasn’t been worn in a regular-season game since quarterback Josh Dobbs in 2020, and it hasn’t been worn by a defensive player since before World War II. Punter Craig Colquitt, a member of two Super Bowl teams in the 1970s, is the Steelers’ most prominent all-time No. 5.

DB Eric Rowe, PS, 25

Rowe is another veteran joining the Steelers, coming to Pittsburgh after eight seasons with the New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles. He previously wore No. 25 with the New England Patriots, and it was the only of his prior NFL numbers available. No. 32 is retired for Franco Harris and No. 21 is occupied by rookie cornerback Darius Rush.

Cornerback Desmond King wore the number earlier this season, but did not appear in any games. Ahekllo Witherspoon wore it the last two seasons. Safety Ryan Clark won a Super Bowl and appeared in one Pro Bowl while wearing No. 25 for the Steelers in the 2000s, as did wide receiver Ron Shanklin in the 1970s.