Bleier's story an inspiration to his teammates


It's a story worth telling, and one that only Rocky Bleier can do with justice. Bleier, the hero who returned from the Vietnam War to go on to be a four-time Super Bowl champion, will perform his one man show in "The Play" at Heinz Hall on Tuesday night.

"That day comes. That Super Bowl comes," said Bleier. "It's been two years in the process. And it's today. It's really exciting. More important it's heartfelt all the support I got from the community and my teammates. It's very exciting."

The 90-minute show does exactly what it says. It tells Bleier's life story in his own words, giving insight into the man that many might never have known.

"He is one of the most extraordinary stories I am aware of," said executive producer Thomas Tull, the CEO of Legendary Pictures and part of the Steelers' Ownership Group. "I've bled black and gold since I was a little boy and have been a huge fan my whole life. When you think about the sacrifice for his country, city and team, those who know his story will enjoy it and those that are a little younger and aren't aware of what Rocky Bleier went through will be inspired."

Before he takes center stage, Bleier was the toast of Heinz Field at a luncheon and roast attended by many of his former teammates, including Hall of Famers Mel Blount, Joe Greene, Franco Harris and Lynne Swann.

"He has had an interesting life. An exceptional life," said Swann. "Rocky is a hero. He saved lives in Vietnam. He overcame great obstacles just to be able walk, let alone play football. He found himself in a key role as a starter on a Super Bowl championship football team and a great contributor, and a great contributor to the community."

His teammates joked because Bleier slipped out the door before they began roasting him so he could do a dress rehearsal, but they didn't hide the respect and admiration they have for the man.

"The older I get the more I appreciate Rocky and his story and his triumphs," said Blount. "He showed us all about perseverance, commitment and hard work. That determination to accomplish the goals he set. He is a guy who showed us how to live and taught us about life's challenges and how to overcome them."

Bleier suffered a leg injury and lost part of his right foot while serving in the United States Army in Vietnam, but fought his way back to return to the playing field and become a starter for the Steelers, something that inspired those he played with.

"One day Rocky was on the training table and I came through there one day and saw him lying on the table," recalled Greene. "His body was purple and blue up and down. I said he needs to be in the hospital. What I recall that same day he practiced. I said if Rocky can practice, nobody should miss practice. I don't think I ever missed a practice, not only because of Chuck (Noll) but because of Rocky Bleier and that influence he had on me."

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