The best Steelers player ever to wear each jersey number still in circulation

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Jersey #33 John "Frenchy" Fuqua

Not a lot of great players have worn #33, especially since 1993. While this honor could have gone to Merrill Hoge, the “Idaho Flash” instead, it goes to John “Frenchy” Fuqua. Not the greatest player in NFL history but certainly the most colorful.

He is known more for his goldfish elevator shoes and flamboyant clothing than his playing ability; however, he will always be known for the immaculate reception. We all know Franco Harris scored the winning touchdown, but it was Frenchy’s role in the play that causes the most controversy to this day. Did he or did he not touch the ball? If he had, the pass would have been incomplete; if Jack Tatum touched the ball first, it was a live play.

Apparently, Frenchy knows the answer but swore secrecy to Art Rooney and will take the answer to his deathbed. However, he likely indirectly answered the question based on an interaction with French. When showing him a still image from the NFL film’s footage of the play, his arms are outstretched, and the ball clearly overshoots him on a direct course for Tatum’s shoulder pad.

His response was I’ll never tell. Replying back, he was told ah, well it’s all sour grapes, my friend, the Raiders know they lost fair and square. At which point he replied with a famous HaHa. While the debate will continue for another 50 years, still it’s highly unlikely he touched the ball, but why ever give the Raiders the satisfaction of knowing? That’s the best part of it, the Raiders and Raiders’ fans can't stand that.

Jersey #34 Andy Russell

This will end up being one of those generational jersey numbers. No great players have worn it lately; it is still remembered as Andy Russell's number. He is a highly underrated linebacker in part because he began his career before the Steelers hired Chuck Noll. Still, before he retired in 1976, he won two Superbowls and played in seven pro bowls. 

Terrell Edmunds is the closest any player has come to taking away Russell’s notoriety with the number. Considering he lacked a certain finesse, wasn’t flashy, and did make game-changing plays like Troy Polamalu. He might not be on the Eagles roster right now if he had. Thus, for now, this is still Russell’s number.

Jersey #35 John Henry Johnson/ Bill Dudley/ John "Blood" McNally

This is a jersey number worn by three NFL Hall of Famers. That’s right, three. Plus, if you are not at least 70, you have never seen any of them play. John Henry Johnson is by far the most well-known to wear the Jersey. The Steelers originally drafted him, but then he chose not to play. He first went to Canada, then to the 49ers, Detroit, then back to the Steelers.

Once back in Pittsburgh, his career took off, and in six years, he rushed for 4381 yards and 26 touchdowns. He also had 106 receptions for 814 yards and six touchdowns. His success with the Steelers eventually landed him a spot in the NFL Hall of Fame. Nevertheless, two others wore this jersey as well.

Bill Dudley wore the number between 1942-1946. His career had just started taking off as he rushed 146 times for 604 yards and two touchdowns. However, the Steelers traded him to Detroit in 1964. Another original superstar in the NFL John “Blood” McNally had a good career, primarily with the Packers. Late in his career, he played with Steelers once in 1934 and returned to Green Bay. Then in 1937-1938, he played his final two seasons with the Steelers before retiring.