Donte Moncrief will be replacing Justin Hunter in more ways than one. Not only will Moncrief replace Hunter as one of the veteran receivers on Pittsburgh’s roster, Moncreif, who signed a two-year deal with the Steelers earlier this offseason, will wear Hunter’s old No. 11 as a member of the black and gold. Moncreif previously wore No. 10 as a member of the Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars.
Moncrief’s new teammate and fellow Pittsburgh free agent acquisition, cornerback Steven Nelson, will be keeping his No. 22 when he takes the field for the first time as a Steeler. The No. 22 was most recently worn by running back Stevan Ridley, who like Hunter saw his contract with the Steelers expire during the offseason. William Gay, who spent 10 of his 11 NFL seasons with the Steelers, wore No. 22 while helping the Steelers win their two most recent Super Bowl titles.
Moncrief, who caught his first NFL touchdown pass against Pittsburgh, met with the Steelers before being taken by the Colts as the 90th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Playing with Pro Bowl quarterback Andrew Luck, Moncrief caught 152 passes for 1,875 yards and 18 touchdown passes during his four seasons with the Colts. He caught 48 passes for 668 yards and three scores during his lone season with the Jaguars.
Moncrief’s father, a lifelong Steelers fan, wanted his son to play well when his teams previously faced off against the Steelers. He just didn’t want his son’s teams to win. Last month, Moncrief explained his father’s lifelong passion for the black and gold.
“He’s always been a Steelers fan,” Moncrief said of his father. “He liked Hines Ward and Jerome Bettis and all those guys. It’s crazy. Four weeks before I even signed he told me I was coming here. So when I got the call and they told me it was Pittsburgh and my agent told me what it’s gonna be, I knew he was gonna be like, ‘I told you so.’ When it happened, I was happy.”
How did his father react to the news that he was joining his favorite team?
“My dad was happy,” Moncrief said. “Super happy. Even when I was in Indy and we were playing the Steelers, he said he’ll root for me, but he still wanted the Steelers to win. Now I’m Steeler now, so now we’re gonna get on the same boat.”