A heralded running back out of Notre Dame, Bleier joined the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1968—only to get drafted into the Vietnam War after his rookie season. Bleier’s unit was ambushed while on patrol. A bullet hit him in the left leg, and then grenade shrapnel tore into his right leg and part of his right foot. “Rocky, you won’t be able to play again. It’s impossible,” his Army doctor told him after the injury, according to a Sports Illustrated article.
But Bleier fought to regain a spot on the Steelers roster, even after he was waived from the team twice. Thanks to a grueling offseason training regimen, Bleier made it back to his playing weight of 210 lbs.—and not only reclaimed a spot on the roster, but played seven seasons and earned four Super Bowl rings.Back to top