Decorated Vietnam veteran and four-time Super Bowl champ Rocky Bleier will be the speaker at 7 p.m. Feb. 24 at Indiana State's Tilson Auditorium.
Presented by the ISU Speaker Series, Bleier will address “Leadership Through Teamwork, Perseverance and Hope.” The event is free and open to the public.
Bleier played college football at Notre Dame, where the Fighting Irish won a national championship during his junior year and he was a team captain his senior year. He graduated in 1968 and was a 16th round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers, taken as the number 417 pick overall.
After his rookie season in the NFL, Bleier was drafted into the U.S. Army and served in Vietnam. There, he fought as a grenadier in an infantry unit and suffered bullet wound to the left thigh and shrapnel wounds to his right foot, knee and thigh. He lost part of his right foot. He was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
Despite being told by doctors he'd never play football again, Bleier fought his way back and rejoined the Steelers in 1970 (injured reserve) and then played through the 1980 season.
He retired with 3,865 rushing yards, 136 receptions for 1,294 yards, and 25 touchdowns. At the time, he was the Steelers' fourth all-time leading rusher. He and teammate Franco Harris each rushed for more than 1,000 yards in the 1976 season, making the Steelers the second team to achieve that feat, the 1972 Miami Dolphins having been the first. Bleier also was considered an outstanding blocking back.
Bleier wrote a book, "Fighting Back: The Rocky Bleier Story," and it was made into a television movie in 1980. His book will be available for purchase before the presentation, and there will be a book signing and autograph session following the presentation.
For more information please visit www.hulmancenter.org or call 877-ISU-TIXS.