New Pittsburgh Steelers’ linebacker Joe Schobert will wear #45 this summer. But don’t rush out to buy those jerseys yet. He made it clear the jersey number is only temporary.
Schobert was spotted wearing #45 at today’s practice. But he took to Twitter to announce he’s making a change before the regular season begins.
What number Schobert will switch to is anyone’s guess. He wore #53 his four years in Cleveland, a number occupied by Steelers’ third-round pick Kendrick Green. The odds of Green giving that number up are slim. Schobert wore #47 with Jacksonville last season, a number unofficially retired by the Steelers to honor Mel Blount. It’s a similar issue with the #58 Schobert wore at Wisconsin, unofficially retired for Jack Lambert. Even if you want to go back to his high school days, Schobert wore #23, which Joe Haden definitely isn’t giving up.
If he wants to stay in the 50s, he’ll likely have the choices of #50 or #54 if Ulysees Gilbert gets cut. #50 is currently worn by UDFA outside linebacker Jamar Watson, highly unlikely to make the team (and would probably be willing to accept some money to change numbers if he does land on the practice squad).
Changing jersey numbers after camp is common once the roster is whittled down from 90 to 53. Joe Haden wore #21 his first season in Pittsburgh before moving back to his old #23. Mike Hilton had #31 his first year in Pittsburgh. You can look back throughout history, too. If you watched the Hall of Fame inductions, you probably saw clips of Alan Faneca wearing #65, which he sported his first two seasons in the NFL.
Of course, his jersey number is a lot less important than his play. But as a heads up, don’t look for the #45 you’ll see running around against the Detroit Lions once the regular season opens up.