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Nunn paved the way

Former Steelers scout Bill Nunn is a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2021 as a contributor. The class will be revealed on Saturday during the NFL Honors show.

Throughout the week will be highlighting Nunn as his quest for a Gold Jacket closes in.

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Bill Nunn has made a difference in the NFL. His impact on the game, opening the door for players from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, is something that didn't just impact the Steelers, it impacted the entire NFL.

During a time when Black college players weren't getting mainstream attention, Nunn was giving them the recognition they deserved, and it wasn't going unnoticed.

Nunn, who passed away in 2014 at the age of 89, joined the Steelers organization in the scouting department after a career in the newspaper business, including a sportswriter, editor, and then managing editor of The Pittsburgh Courier.

Starting in 1950 he selected the newspaper's annual Black College All-American Team, developing relationships that benefited in his scouting career and opened the door for Black players who weren't getting attention from teams.

If you are a Steelers fan, the names John Stallworth, Donnie Shell, Mel Blount and L.C. Greenwood are among the ones Bill Nunn brought to the table.

Take a look at photos of the Pittsburgh Steelers 2021 Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist Bill Nunn

"Bill in my mind was a game-changer for guys in my era that went to Black colleges," said Stallworth. "Bill was a force in the room for us. Most guys in the past, before us, didn't have anyone to talk about their pedigree, how good they were, what their capabilities were, their talent, what kind of man they were. Bill was a voice in the room for guys in Black colleges in the early years. He paved the way."

But there were others, just ask the New York Giants, who drafted future Hall of Famer Roosevelt 'Rosey' Brown in the 27th round of the 1953 NFL Draft, after late owner Wellington Mara learned about Brown through Nunn's All-America team in the Courier. Even Brown's bio on the Pro Football Hall of Fame page references him making Nunn's team.

"In the 1953 National Football League Draft, the New York Giants selected a 1952 Black All-America tackle from little-known Morgan State College in the 27th round. His name was Roosevelt Brown and his youth and relative inexperience were obvious when he joined the Giants for his first summer training camp."

And Los Angeles Rams fans should forever be grateful to Nunn, as he touted Deacon Jones, a future Hall of Famer they selected in the 14th round of the 1961 NFL Draft.

"I have been saying this for a long time. Bill Nunn should be in the Hall of Fame," said Stallworth. "This should be the year he finally gets the honor he deserves."

Nunn is one of the few people to earn six Super Bowl rings with the Steelers, after coming out of retirement to return to the team on a part-time basis.

"You can't write the history of the Pittsburgh Steelers without Bill Nunn," said Blount. "When you look at the Steelers of the 1970s, none of that would have happened without Bill Nunn."

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