A philanthropist, a gentleman, and one heck of a football player, Mel Blount is the symbol of all Steelers defensive backs.
Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1989, Blount’s 57 career interceptions are the most by anyone wearing black and gold all-time.
Blount was selected to five Pro Bowls and named the 1975 defensive player of the year after recording 11 interceptions that season.
Blount’s size, speed, and strength were legendary for his time in the NFL. So much so that the NFL had to change the rules concerning pass defense after the 1977 season because of his physical prowess.
Blount was known for setting the mark high.
The story goes that Blount happened to pass some scouts testing a top prospect’s vertical jump one day at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh. Seeing a black mark on the wall he asked what it was. The scouts told Blount that the mark was the height of the vertical jump that the prospect had just performed.
Without another word, Blount, who was dressed in street clothes, proceeded to jump and touch a height much higher on the wall. He then looked at the prospect and said with glaring certainty, “That’s the Steelers’ mark.”
The year was 1982, Blount was 31 years old, and the prospect was Renaldo Jeremiah, an Olympic athlete and the world-record holder in the 110-meter hurdles.