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The Steelers 1977 season begins here>>>

MEL BLOUNT AND STEELERS REACH AGREEMENT

Mel Blount media photoClaiming the embarrassment of watching his team being humiliated in Dallas in the last game of preseason influenced his decision, Mel Blount ended his 56-day holdout. “I got a certain feeling they didn’t look the same team and I felt somewhat responsible,” Blount revealed.

“It was embarrassing to me,” he continued. “I felt the contribution I had made in the past would go to waste. I felt they needed me and I told my agent to start negotiations again.”

In agreeing to return, Blount dropped his $5 million dollar “criminal” lawsuit and his grievance against the Steelers and was saddled with a $25,000 fine for his holdout.

Blount appeared jovial and relaxed at the press conference to announce his return and said, “My future is better and I’m happy.”

A decision on his fitness to play against San Francisco would be made after the Steelers had evaluated his conditioning. Bud Carson, the Steelers defensive coordinator, suggested that the cornerback position was the toughest to play without much practice. “It’s not like anywhere else on the team,” Carson said. “If a player is a step or two behind, it can mean six points.”

FROM ART’S POINT OF VIEW

Although he was no longer at the Steelers helm having handed control over to his son Dan, Art Rooney still went into the office every day. He also watched the team practice and was still keen to talk about football.

“This isn’t like baseball,” Art Rooney told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as he gesticulated towards the players during practice. “Baseball is an individual game,” he added. “You can have eight players who dislike each other and the management and they can still go up to the plate and hit. But this is a team game. They have to work together.”

With the Steelers preseason being an up and down affair, Mr. Rooney felt it was critical for the Steelers to get off to a good start. Last season’s 1-4 start would not be conducive for a good year.

“I think everyone in the organisation thought a year ago we could still come back after we were 1-4,” but twelve months later, the view was a different one.

Coach Noll felt the team had practiced well leading up to their season opener, but warned, ”My feeling is that this team has great potential. But potential has to be realised.” With a tough early schedule, the Steelers would have to get up to speed fast to expel the doubts they had built during the off-season.

Joe Greene was optimistic. “We’ve cleared up our little adversities and all the distractions should be gone,” Greene offered.  “There are different challenges every year. Football is a cycle and the cycle changes all the time. Things happen, but Mel’s in, Jack’s in. We’ve had one retirement on defense and we are going to miss Andy’s knowledge and leadership, but we’ve now got the same people. We’ve got the people in this room who can win a championship.

ERNIE HOLMES WALKS OUT

Ernie Holmes, who spent the off season successfully fighting a cocaine charge, walked out of Three Rivers Stadium after telling Dan Rooney, “I can’t hack it.” Holmes owed the Steelers an estimated $28,000 for the legal fees incurred when defending the charge and it was taking its toll on the player.

Rooney played down the exit, saying, “He said he had too much to think about, that is problems were overbearing on him.” Believing the player would return to practice, Rooney added, “This was not a major thing.”


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This site last updated August 16th 2016.

Ben's early games with the Steelers.

The Steelers 1976 season in full.
The Steelers 1975 season in full.
The Steelers 1974 season in full.

The first NFL champions the 1902 Pittsburgh Stars added June 2016

The Pittsburgh Americans added August 2015.

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