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William Jackson III to Wear No. 17 for Steelers

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Steelers CB William Jackson III

Newly-acquired cornerback William Jackson III will wear No. 17 for the Steelers, becoming the first defensive player in the team’s history to sport the number.

Arguably the most notable talent to don No. 17 for Pittsburgh was receiver Mike Wallace, who caught passes in the Steel City from 2009 to 2012. A speedy deep threat, Wallace piled up 235 receptions, 4,042 yards, and 32 touchdowns before suiting up for Miami, Minnesota, Baltimore, and Philadelphia.

After him, wideouts Eli Rogers, Deon Cain, and — most recently — Anthony Miller have worn the threads. The latter two combined for six catches and 74 yards, while Rogers had more success. He reeled in 78 balls for 822 yards and four scores before playing for the XFL’s D.C. Defenders in 2020.

The first Steelers player to don No. 17 was Armand Niccolai, a Duquesne grad who started 60 games at either offensive tackle or guard for Pittsburgh from 1934 to 1942.

Single-wing blocking back John Patrick (1941), fullback Joe Hoague (1941-42), offensive lineman Elmer Merkovsky (1946), and halfback Joe Glamp (1947-49) all followed.

The number has been worn by five quarterbacks — Gary Kerkorian (1952), Paul Held (1954), Dick Shiner (1968-69), Joe Gilliam (1972-75), and Tee Martin (2001).

Punters Rick Engles (1977), John Goodson (1982), Chris Gardocki (2004-06), and Mitch Berger (2008), sported No. 17 as well.

Wide receiver Curtis Marsh had the number in 1997.

On Tuesday, Jackson was added to the Steelers’ locker room in a trade. Pittsburgh sent a conditional 2025 sixth-round draft choice to Washington for the defensive back, who hasn’t played since Week 5.

Jackson, once a member of the Cincinnati Bengals’ secondary, joined the Commanders before the 2021 campaign on a three-year, $42 million deal. He was the 24th overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft, taken one spot ahead of Artie Burns.

He has five career picks and has started a total of 64 contests. The Steelers are hoping he can add a veteran presence to a secondary that gave up three first-half passing scores to the Eagles last week.

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