Since being drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft Jarvis Jones has said all the right things.
I don’t compare myself in [any] way to James Harrison. Great player. I respect him. Never met him. I love his game. I wouldn’t mind being an impact player like James Harrison.
He likewise took a question about “falling” to 17 in the draft in stride, explaining:
I landed right where I wanted to be. I don’t think [anything] of it. This team chose me for a reason, because they wanted me to be here. And I fully accept that those [other] teams passed on me for a reason – they didn’t want me to be there so I fully accept that. I’m just going to continue to get better, do everything my coaches ask me to do and just love being a Pittsburgh Steeler.
Contrast the humility displayed by what many considered to be the best edge rusher in the draft with some of the recent statements attributed to Gino Smith and you get a better appreciation for that is known as “The Steelers Way.”
- But actions speak far louder than words.
And Jones did not even need to be a Steeler for a week to make one of the boldest statements ever for a Steelers rookie.
Jarvis Jones decided to change his jersey number to No. 95, which once belonged to another ROLB of distinction for the team: Greg Lloyd
— Bob Labriola (@BobLabriola) May 2, 2013
If this were a poker game has seen his opponent’s $50 and raised it with a C-Note.
Yes, the Steelers franchise is rich enough and deep enough that numbers of former greats go on to be worn by players of varying worthiness.
Witness, Steelers Hall of Famer John Stallworth’s number 82 being worn by the likes of:
But the bestowal of 95 is not a matter that should be taken lightly.
Per the Steelers media guide, 8 players have donned number 95 since Greg Lloyd’s departure in 1998.
That’s a high number, but most of those have been “limited release editions” used for defensive lineman or linebackers, Corbin Bryant or Donovan Woods types, who’ve been temporarily activated from the practice squad. Defensive end Ryan McBean also wore the number for a full season in 2007.
Indeed, the most notable player involving number 95 since Greg Lloyd’s time was Joey Porter. As a rookie in training camp Porter was assigned 95, and Porter was a preseason sensation whose play was so dominant that Levon Kirkland reportedly took to calling him “Greg” in the huddle.
- Porter wanted to forge his own identify and switched his number to 55.
Jarvis Jones has taken the opposite route. Originally assigned number 91, Jones asked for 95.
- That’s fine, because Greg Lloyd was as much about attitude as he was about on the field performance.
Greg Lloyd’s “Just Plain Nasty” and “I Wasn’t Hired for My Disposition” wasn’t an attitude he simply demanded of himself, he demanded it from the rest of the locker room.
If you doubt that, look no further than Hines Ward’s retirement press conference where he cited Lloyd as someone who helped instill the proper practice ethic in him, despite the fact that Lloyd got cut shortly after Ward’s rookie mini-camp.
- Jarvis Jones has thrown down the gauntlet in choosing his jersey number.
Let’s home Jarvis Jones can live up to the challenge he’s set for himself. Because you have to earn the right to wear number 95 for the Pittsburgh Steelers.