Nickel, Calland headed to KY Pro Football HOF

Two former Steelers will be among those inducted into the Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer.

Elbie Nickel and Lee Calland, who were both born in Kentucky, were announced as members of the Class of 2022 on Wednesday.

In addition, Dermontti Dawson was named the winner of the 2022 Blanton Collier Award for integrity on and off the field. The Blanton Collier Award was established by the Kentucky Chapter of the NFL Alumni in 2007 to honor individuals who not only excelled on the football field, but utilized the platform given them through their athletic careers to give back off the field.

Nickel, who died in 2007, was born in Fullerton, Kentucky and attended South Shore High School, before playing collegiately at the University of Cincinnati.

Nickel was drafted by the Steelers in the 15h round of the 1947 NFL Draft. While he might not have arrived with a lot of fanfare, he definitely made his impact on the team.

Nickel, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, was inducted into the Steelers Hall of Honor as a member of the Class of 2019. He was selected to the Steelers 75th Anniversary All-Time Team in 2007.

He played tight end for the black and gold, although at that point the position was simply known as end. He finished his career with 329 receptions for 5,131 yards, ranking seventh on the team's all-time list in both categories. His 37 career receiving touchdowns ranks eighth in team history.

His career included some impressive times, including in 1949 when he led the NFL in yards per catch with a 24.3-yard average, and in 1952 he had 55 receptions for 884 yards and nine touchdowns, all Steelers' records at the time.

Nickel led the NFL in yards per catch with a 24.3 average in 1949, but his best season was in 1952 when he posted 55 receptions for 884 yards and nine touchdowns, all of which were Steelers' records at the time.

Calland was born in Louisville, Kentucky and went on to play at the University of Louisville. During his college days he did it all, leading the team in punt and kickoff returns as well as interceptions and receptions.

Calland entered the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings as a rookie free agent and became the first rookie to ever start at cornerback in the NFL and was named to the All-Rookie team.

After his time with the Vikings, Falcons and Bears, Calland joined the Steelers in 1969 and remained in the black and gold for three seasons before retiring due to an injury. During his career 10-year NFL career he had 19 interceptions, returned for 184 yards.

After his playing days ended Calland went into the coaching ranks. He served as the defensive coordinator at Fort Valley State where his defense was ranked first in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) in 1997. He also coached linebackers for the World Football League's London Monarchs and spent time at Morehouse College, Southern University, Morris Brown College and Tennessee State University.

Nickel and Calland join former Steelers Dermontti Dawson, Aaron Jones, Dwayne Woodruff, John Jackson, William Gay and the late Tim Lester in the Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame, giving the Steelers more players than any other NFL team who have been enshrined.

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