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Who were the most notable Steelers to wear number 82?

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In a countdown of the most prolific Steelers jerseys of all time, No. 82 comes in 4th place.

John Stallworth - Pittsburgh Steelers - File Photos

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 4th. Enjoy.

4) No. 82

Current Wearer: Amara Darboh 2019-Present

Most Notable: Antwaan Randle-El 2002-2005 and 2010, Bobby Shaw 1999-2001, Yancey Thigpen 1992-1997 (pictured below), Derek Hill 1989-1990, John Stallworth 1974-1987

Bengals V Steelers

Yancey Thigpen’s road to NFL stardom started when he was drafted by the San Diego Chargers as a fourth rounder in 1991, but it took a couple of seasons to hit the fast lane. The two-sport athlete (basketball and football) from North Carolina AC&T was released by the Chargers and Bill Cowher snapped the receiver up immediately. The culture in Pittsburgh was more welcoming and Thigpen had no weight parameters to keep up, so he was able to relax and concentrate on catching the football. Yancey played sparingly his first two seasons in the Steel City, but he started realizing a bigger role in 2004 with 36 catches, 547 yards and four scores. The next season, No. 82 became a superstar and Neil O’Donnell’s primary target when he caught 85 balls for 1,307 yards, went to the Pro Bowl and helped lead the Steelers to Super Bowl XXX where he caught a touchdown pass. In 1997, Thigpen went off again with 1,398 yards and seven TD catches. That Pro Bowl season led him to a big money deal with Tennessee and four seasons with the Titans. He never quite reached the same success in Music City and retired after the 2001 season. After all of these years, Yancey Thigpen remains a favorite for the fans of Steelers Nation.

Antwaan Randle-El was a prolific playmaker at quarterback for the University of Indiana Hooisers from 1998-2001. The All-American was selected by Pittsburgh in the second round of the 2002 Draft and the Steelers found themselves with an instant play-maker on special teams. With five career return touchdowns and one as a rookie for the Steelers, Randle-El was named to the 2005 All-Pro First Team. The Swiss Army Knife also drew on his passing experience completing 22 of 27 passes for 323 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions in his career. Number 82 also became the first and only wide receiver to throw a touchdown pass in a Super Bowl when he connected with Hines Ward on an crucial 43-yarder in Super Bowl XL. After that victory and a career of 2,012 receiving yards and seven touchdown receptions, Antwaan left as a free agent for four years with the Washington Redskins. Having been released after 2009, Randle-El returned to the Steel City for a last season in 2010 that ended with a Super Bowl loss to Green Bay. Antwaan Randle-El officially retired in 2012 and is now an offensive assistant in Tampa Bay.

Derek Hill started 20 games for the Steelers after being drafted in the third round out of Arizona in the 1989 draft. However, the Wildcats leading receiver of the 80s never realized his potential in Pittsburgh and only had 846 yards receiving and one score in two seasons. Leaving the Steelers for Arizona as a Plan B free agent, Hill never played for the Cardinals who voided his contract. After his NFL career was through, Hill bounced around the CFL, Arena League and World League for a bit. Hill was working as a sports and fitness trainer when he passed away of a heart attack at the age of 44.

Bobby Shaw graduated from Cal as the school’s all-time leader in receptions with 180 catches and was a sixth round draft pick of the Seattle Seahawks in 1998. The receiver didn’t stick in the Emerald City and hooked on with the Steelers later that year. Shaw was a valuable pass-catcher for the Steelers by hauling in 92 balls for 1,428 yards and nine scores. His biggest play came in a crucial Week 14 game in 2001 in Baltimore when Shaw hooked up with Kordell Stewart on a 90-yard pass play to clinch the game. After that season, Bobby Shaw spent parts of the following three seasons with Jacksonville, Buffalo and San Diego before retiring from football in 2004.

From the epic Steelers draft class of 1974, John Stallworth was drafted in the fourth round out of Alabama A&M after the Steelers drafted USC’s Lynn Swann in the first round. Johnny Lee became Terry Bradshaw’s most reliable go-to-guy in later years. The Hall of Famer was productive later in his career, having his best season with career highs of 80 catches, 1395 yards and 11 touchdowns in 1984. He ended with 537 receptions, 8,723 yards and 63 scores. Stallworth was also the guy that came up big in the postseason with 57 catches and 12 TDs in 18 career games. His Super Bowl performances were the stuff of legends, but he never won the MVP in four tries. Stallworth, who now owns a portion of the team, was selected to three Pro Bowls, was an All-Pro in 1979 and is a member of the Steelers’ All-Time team.

Check back soon for the 3rd 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
6) No. 39
5) No. 91