It’s fair to say that former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rocky Bleier was less than thrilled with his team’s failure to secure a victory against a 2-10 Oakland Raiders team on Sunday, which was enough to declare in the heat of the moment that he was ‘done’ with the team.
Bleier, a decorated Army veteran who is a beloved member of the team’s dynasty years and participated in many heated battles with the Raiders, went on a rant in which he expressed disbelief over the team’s seemingly improbable three-game winning streak that has seen them fall from bye week favorites to fighting for their playoff lives.
In a bit of a departure from previous responses from former players about current states of affairs, the Steelers were very respectful of Bleier and his comments, and his right to say them. Both Head Coach Mike Tomlin and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said that they appreciate his passion and dedication and said that he has the right to express his views.
Bleier wanted to update his Monday commentary, however, posting another video yesterday in which he made the following remarks:
“I just want to clarify, I am not ‘done’ with the Steelers. I’m just truly disappointed, and it’s heartbreaking to see our team lose the way they have been losing. But it can be rectified. I mean all we have to do—and I do mean we, the team along with the Steeler Nation—is to win the next three games, go to the playoffs, win the playoffs, and go to the Super Bowl, and all will be forgiven.
Don’t laugh, because that is the truth. I’m not going to be two-faced. I believe what I believe, but I will be on the sidelines this weekend, and I will be watching the Patriot game from my seats. Now here’s to the beginning of a new ending, and I cannot wait to see if it comes true. This is one man’s opinion. Thank you.”
The Steelers on an organizational level have not only been accepting but also actively welcoming and participatory with their alumni. Communicating with their past players is even part of John Mitchell’s job in his new role as full-time Assistant Head Coach. Terry Cousin as Player Engagement Coordinator is also a key part in facilitating the relationships between current and former players.
The frequent and active presence of alumni around the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex is actually a topic that comes up a lot among the players, who get the opportunity to benefit from the wisdom of some of the greats of Steelers past. So it’s no surprise that there are even some former players on-staff, namely Joey Porter and Jerry Olsavsky. Former players Mark Bruener and Chidi Iwuoma (as Alex Kozora swoons somewhere) are members of the team’s scouting staff.