The Steelers drafted a role player on defense who was all of that and much more
When you think about the Steelers teams of the 1970s, specifically, the Steel Curtain, the first name that may not come to mind is Steve Furness. Drafted in the fifth round in 1972, Furness came to Steelers via Rhode Island.
I would offer that Rhode Island was not a powerhouse football program when we selected Furness, but that really did not matter for the Steelers of the ’70s as many players were drafted from small schools.
Despite not having the pedigree of a player from a ‘big time’ football program, Furness acquitted himself quite well when called upon, which, frankly, was expected of every Steelers backup during the Chuck Noll era.
Listed at 6′ 4′ and 255 lbs, Furness would be considered an undersized DL had he played today. Back then, he was probably a bit undersized, but he did not play that way, which is why I was not at all surprised to learn that Furness apparently was part of the ‘500 pound club’.
In a book called, ‘Tales from Behind the Steel Curtain‘, Jim Wexell described a group of Steelers who were avid lifters and Furness was among them. According to Wexell, Furness could bench press 500 pounds. Let’s assume it was a little more than that. For someone who weighed 255 lbs, being able to bench press twice your body weight is indicative of pure strength.
Let’s see who comes in at number twelve on our list.