Rocky Bleier wasn’t a household name his entire NFL career. Leaving the league for Vietnam in 1968, the running back out of Notre Dame may have missed his shot to be the team’s great running back. He missed a year of his NFL career due to his military commitment.
That being said, it never stopped Bleier from implanting himself into Steelers history. After returning from the war in 1970, and spending a year on injured reserve, Bleier got back on the field in 1971. There, he spent three seasons trying to earn his place on the team.
In 1974, Bleier received a spot in the starting lineup, working behind Franco Harris in the backfield, and becoming the team’s primary special teams man. From 1974-1980, Bleier racked up four Super Bowl rings, and become the second running back duo to have two rushers over 1,000 yards in a season.
He retired in 1980 as the team’s fourth all-time leading rusher with 3,865 yards and 25 touchdowns. Bleier may not have the national resonance of some of his former Pittsburgh teammates, but Pittsburgh knows how important he was to their four Super Bowl victory seasons in the 1970s. That’s for sure.