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Rocky Bleier was not a very big man nor exceptionally fast on his feet, but he was an extremely determined athlete. His goal was to play professional football despite those people who persisted in their belief that he would never be drafted by a pro team. With much determination, a dream that would never die, help from others, and much hard work, Rocky Bleier was selected in the next-to-the-last round of the 1968 draft to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Before he could prove himself as a rookie, he was drafted again, this time by the U.S. Army for combat duty in Vietnam. A few months later, crippled by enemy rifle fire and grendae wounds to both legs, Bleier faced his biggest challenge. His wounds were so severe that they threatened his ability to ever walk again, much less to play professional football. For more than two years, he drove himself. Little by little he overcame obstacles and fought his way back.

Well, the rest is history. Rocky not only regained the use of his legs, but went on to become a starting running back on a team that won four Super Bowls and became the greatest football team of the 20th century.

He remains one of the most popular of the Steelers Super Bowl champions. He was adopted as one of Pittsburgh’s finest citizens. Fans have always liked him and identified with him for many reasons. They thought he was one of them. Since retiring from the Steelers, Rocky had the good fortune to share his story of triumph over life setbacks with others and to meet people with similar stories to share.

In 1990 Rocky teamed up with Rocco Scalzi, Founder and President of the Beating the Odds Foundation, to help students develop their full potential, achieve success in life, and inspire others to achieve their dreams in the face of life challenges. The Beating the Odds Foundation’s Quarterbacks of Life® Student Success and Leadership Program teaches students how to become quarterbacks of life and does so using inspirational stories, a curriculum that teaches 5 Stepping Stones to Success, and assemblies that bring real life quarterbacks of life into classrooms across the country.

Rocky led a life of heroism and courage while serving his country, as a Pittsburgh Steeler he led an inspirational life by overcoming all odds and winning 4 Super Bowl rings, today he leads a life of leadership and giving back. Rocky is dedicated to helping students be inspired, overcome their obstacles, and achieve their dreams. He is eager to share his story with students and help them see that if he could do it, they can too. For 25 years he has been actively involved and dedicates his time to the Beating the Odds Foundation as a Quarterback of Life and Co-Chair.

The story of one man’s life, from another generation, partnered with hundreds of other stories, can help students see what the human spirit can overcome and accomplish in one’s journey.


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