Maurkice Pouncey gives Steelers rookie Kendrick Green his blessing to wear No.53

New Pittsburgh Steelers center Kendrick Green turned heads when he made his rookie minicamp debut wearing the jersey number of his recently retired predecessor, Maurkice Pouncey.

While some initially thought it was too early to issue his No.53, Pouncey apparently gave the rookie his blessing to take up the torch.

“It’s just a number – memories are never given,” Pouncey told ESPN’s Brooke Pryor. “My jersey number at all levels after my departure has been returned. It’s all part of football. “

Green applied for number 53 initially, but wasn’t sure he would get it given Pouncey’s reputation with the franchise and his recent departure. The meaning of the number and the player who wore it before is not lost on the rookie.

“They didn’t give it to me. I wore 53 since high school. Obviously in Illinois I wore it too. So I kind of asked for it knowing he was retired, ”Green said. “I was quite ready for them not to, but they let me have it. I have big shoes to fill, so I’ll work on that.

Big shoes are right. Pouncey was named a nine Pro Bowls and won two All-Pro first-team nods. Pouncey was also named to the 2010s All-Decade squad.

Still, the Steelers’ offensive line faltered last season in Pouncey’s last campaign, and Green was drafted to help correct an anemic running game that was the NFL’s worst last season.

While the Greens and Steelers will tell you he hasn’t won anything yet, it’s pretty obvious he’s been cast to be Pouncey’s immediate successor.

Pittsburgh is hoping for a smooth transition, but at least the numbers will be the same.

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