Rocky BleierVietnam War Veteran and NFL Super Bowl Champion
Rocky Bleier played for 11 years for the Pittsburgh Steelers, overcoming significant injuries sustained in Vietnam to battle his way back onto the team he had joined just months before being drafted into the U.S. Army.
Mr. Bleier was a late round pick for the Steelers, in part because at 5’11” he didn’t fall within the ideal of what a running back should look like. Through hard work and dedication, he demonstrated his abilities until, in the midst of his first season, he was tagged to serve his country overseas. When his platoon was ambushed, he received leg wounds from both rifle fire and grenade fragments, and he found himself barely able to walk.
Over the next two years, Mr. Bleier drove himself to recuperate so he could rejoin his team. He succeeded and eventually became a starting running back during a time when the team won four Super Bowls. Known primarily as a blocker, he finished with 3,855 yards rushing, including 1,036 in 1976. Still ranked ninth on the team’s all-time rushing list, he also finished his career with two touchdown receptions in the post-season, including an acrobatic catch in Super Bowl XIII. In 2018, he was named to the Pittsburg Steelers Hall of Honor.
In 1975, Mr. Bleier released his autobiography, “Fighting Back,” and in 2018 re-released it as a special edition, “Fighting Back for Veterans,” with the proceeds going to support military veterans groups. He is the recipient of both a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.