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Who were the most notable Steelers to wear number 39?

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In a countdown of the most prolific Steelers jerseys of all time, No. 39 comes in 6th place.

Steelers Darren Perry Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images

BTSC continues to rank the best numbers in team history on a standpoint of thriving over time throughout multiple players. It seems there are a few numbers which are always represented with quality play in Steelers lore. One BTSC author has wondered aloud “what is the most accomplished number in Steelers history?” Through player and jersey value rankings found in Pro Football Reference, we have ranked the most successful numbers in Steelers history worn by multiple players. You won’t see numbers like 12, 58, 75, 31, 32, 52, 59, 36 and 47 as it would be basically ranking an individual player over the other and not the cumulative effort. In today’s submission, we take a look at those ranked 6th. Enjoy.

6) No. 39

Current Wearer: Minkah Fitzpatrick 2019-Present

Most Notable: Willie Parker 2004-2009 (pictured below), Darren Perry 1992-1998, Rick Moser 1979-1982, Bobby Walden 1968-1977

NFL: Steelers Beat Panthers 37-3 Photo by Bob Leverone/Sporting News via Getty Images via Getty Images

Willie Parker is one of the fastest men to ever run the ball for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but a commitment to a power running scheme and inconsistent play at North Carolina led him to a reserve role and not being drafted. But the Rooney’s noticed him on scouting trips and signed Parker as an undrafted free agent. Parker didn’t see much playing time his rookie year, but got a chance in a meaningless Week 17 game in 2004. Willie, in only three quarters, ran for 102 yards against Buffalo and the seeds of greatness were starting to be sewn. Fast Willie Parker wasn’t supposed to start in Pittsburgh in 2005 either, but when both Jerome Bettis and Duce Staley were deemed unable to play in the opener, Parker ran the rock for 161 yards and finished the season with 1,202. Parker was only the second undrafted player (Priest Holmes was the first) to rush over 1,200 yards. In Super Bowl XL, Parker’s 75-yard dash is still the longest running-play in Super Bowl history. Injuries cut short the career of the 2-time Pro Bowler, who finished his career as the third best rusher in team history with 5,378 yards, 29 touchdowns and two Super Bowl rings in a mere six seasons with the team. Parker held the record for most rushing yards in a single game, notching 223 on a frigid December night against Cleveland in 2006, until Le’Veon Bell broke it in 2016. With the emergence of Rashard Mendenhall as the Steelers starter, Willie Parker left the team in 2010 for Washington, but failed to make the roster in DC. Officially retiring in 2012, Parker spends his days now coaching.

Darren Perry was a late round pick in 1992 when the Steelers selected the All-American safety and second-leading interceptor in Penn State history in the eighth round. Perry impressed right away when his six interceptions as a rookie marked the first time in 37 years a rookie led the Steelers in picks. That first-year excellence earned Darren the Joe Greene Great Performance Award as Pittsburgh’s top rookie. The free safety was durable as well, starting 110 of a possible 112 games as a Steeler, missing only two in 1998 for a groin injury. No. 39 ended his career in Pittsburgh after seven solid seasons in 1998 as Pittsburgh’s seventh-best interceptor of all-time. Perry moved on to the Chargers and Ravens in 1999, but didn’t record any playing time. His last season as a player was 2000 with a one-year stint with New Orleans. Since then, Darren Perry has joined the coaching ranks, including winning two Super Bowl rings as a defensive backs coach with the Steelers (2003-2006) in 2005 and the Packers (2009-2017) in 2010. Out of the game currently, Perry is reportedly seeking getting back on a NFL sideline.

Fans might not quite remember Rick Moser for his prowess on the football field, but his face might just be familiar to quite a bit of people. The Academic All-American was drafted out of Rhode Island by the Steelers in the 8th round of the 1978 draft. The running back did not see a lot of carries with the likes of Franco Harris, Rocky Bleier, Sidney Thornton and Greg Hawthorne in the Pittsburgh backfield, but he was a special teams ace for the Steelers. In fact, Moser recorded five tackles on kick coverage in Super Bowl XIV, then a Super Bowl record. After two rings in his first two seasons and a rushing touchdown with the Steelers, Moser moved on to Miami and Kansas City before returning to Pittsburgh in 1981 and 1982. One more game in Tampa in 1982 closed Moser’s career. Since then the football player turned to acting and modeling where he appeared in many print ads, commercials, the big screen an the small one as well. Many times Moser has portrayed football players like in Fighting Back, HBO’s 1st and 10 and Everybody’s Al-American. In Dazed and Confused, Moser was featured as the high-socked assistant football coach. On television, Rick appeared on favorites like General Hospital, The Facts of Life and Diff’rent Strokes.

Bobby Walden started his professional football career in the Canadian League from 1960 to 1963 where he led the led the league in punting, rushing and receiving in 1961 and 1962. The Georgia Bulldog then transitioned into the NFL with a sole focus on punting with the Minnesota Vikings from 1964 to 1967. In 1968, Walden joined the Pittsburgh Steelers and stuck with the team for ten seasons, winning rings for Super Bowl IX and X. Bobby was named to the Pro Bowl in 1969 and is a member of the Steelers all-time team. The last Steelers punter to wear a position player’s number, the punter averaged 41.1 yards-per-punt for the Steelers. Bobby Walden passed away in 2018 at the age of 80.

Check back soon for the 5th best jersey in BTSC’s countdown of the most prolific jersey number stables in Steelers history. But first, a recap of the countdown so far.

Honorable Mention: No. 51, No. 93, No. 27 and No. 33
25) No. 24
24) No. 43
23) No. 83
22) No. 67
21) No. 53
20) No. 10
19) No. 20
18) No. 63
17) No. 50
16) No. 34
15) No. 78
14) No. 98
13) No. 68
12) No. 77
11) No. 56
10) No. 86
9) No. 73
8) No. 99
7) No. 55