Rocky Bleier was a fan favorite at running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers during their amazing 1970s run of success. The team drafted him in the 16th round of the NFL Draft in 1968, and he remained with the team until his retirement following the 1980 season. Bleier was an accomplished lead blocker for eventual Hall of Fame running back and teammate Franco Harris.
Here are some interesting facts about Rocky Bleier:
-Rocky Bleier saw limited action during his rookie season in 1968, and then served in the military during the Vietnam War, before returning to the Steelers in time for the 1971 season. While in Vietnam, Bleier was injured in the league by shrapnel from a grenade and was told he would most likely never play football again.
-Before he left for military service, Rocky Bleier wore jersey number 26, after his return new fullback Preston Pearson was wearing that number, so for the rest of his career he wore jersey number 20.
-Rocky Bleier’s best year was 1976 when he ran for 1,036 yards.
-During his career, Rocky Bleier returned four punts and 15 kickoffs.
-The longest run of Rocky Bleier’s career came in 1979, his second to last year in the league, when he had a 70 yard run.
-A television movie about the life of Rocky Bleier was made during the early 1980s. Robert Urich starred as Bleier, and a number of actual Pittsburgh Steelers players played themselves. The movie was based on the book that Bleier had written.
-During his career, Rocky Bleier scored 25 touchdowns, only two of them were touchdown receptions with the rest of them being rushing touchdowns.
-When Rocky Bleier rushed for more than 1,000 yards in 1976, teammate Franco Harris also rushed for more than 1,000 yards. This was only the second time in NFL history that one team had two running backs break the 1,000 yard mark.