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    With letter of provenance from Bleier himself

    Early 1970's Rocky Bleier Game Worn Pittsburgh Steelers Jersey. He had only played a single NFL season when Uncle Sam's call came, directing Bleier to report for military service in the Vietnam War. Just three months into his tour, Bleier lay on the damp ground of a rice paddy, a bullet wound in his left thigh and a portion of his right foot blown off by an enemy grenade. As he recovered in a hospital in Tokyo, a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart displayed on his bedside table, a postcard arrived from Pittsburgh:

    "Rock, the team's not doing well. We need you. Art Rooney."

    Deeply touched by that show of support from half a world away, Bleier dedicated himself to answering the Hall of Fame team owner's call, hobbling back into the Steelers' training camp thirty pounds underweight at the start of the 1971 season. He'd carry the ball only four times over the ensuing three seasons before earning the starting running back role in 1974. By the time of his 1980 retirement, Bleier had earned four Super Bowl Championship rings and a place of honor in the Pittsburgh Pro Football Hall of Fame.

    Bleier's personal letter of provenance leaves the precise vintage in question, reading simply, "This letter certifies that this jersey was worn by me as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers after my return back to the team from the Vietnam War," but the heavy game wear suggests the strong possibility of multiple seasons' wear. We count five separate team repairs to the white durene body, and still more to the black tackle twill identifiers that announce number "20" on chest, shoulders and back. The rear numerals exhibit some minor separation from the jersey body but remain firmly affixed. Yellow three-inch block reads "Bleier," affixed to rear nameplate with black thread. Blood staining appears at the lower hem. Lower left front tail holds a proper "Sand-Knit size 44" label and a local "Olympic Sport Center" supplier's tag just above.

    Joining the garment and personal letter of provenance are four photographs of Bleier picturing him holding the jersey and signing the letter. Letter of provenance from Rocky Bleier. LOA from Heritage Auctions.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2016
    20th-21st Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 21
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,413

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