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|06-13-2009, 07:31 AM||#1|
A Son of Martha
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Ex-Steeler Mullins still living dream
Ex-Steeler Mullins still living dream
By Todd Irwin, firstname.lastname@example.org
POSTED: June 13, 2009
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CRESSON - Each time a new group of golfers reached the tees for the Summit Country Club's 10th hole, Gerry "Moon" Mullins walked down from the shaded seating area and posed for pictures and signed autographs.
Mullins was a starting offensive guard who helped the Pittsburgh Steelers win four Super Bowls during a nine-year career from 1971 to 1979. Friday, he was at the golf course to aid the 12th annual Mount Aloysius College Celebrity Golf Tournament, and he signed plenty of autographs.
"Actually I do that more now than when I played," he said. "I don't know if it's the Internet or whatever, but I get more people sending me football cards to get autographed. It's been like 30 years [since he played].
"The game has really grown in popularity. The fact that the 70s Steelers were probably one of the more successful teams in the last century, I guess a lot of people still relate. We were part of the renaissance of Pittsburgh. I think the people of that era have been able to instill it in their kids and grandkids. Steeler Nation is really taking over the whole country."
Mullins, 59 and married, now lives near Pittsburgh in Saxonburg and is the president of Industrial Metals and Minerals Co. Mount Aloysius president Sister Mary Ann Dillon said the college lined him up a year ago to be at this year's event.
"I was invited to come up just to be a part of the overall celebration," Mullins said. "I'm not an avid golfer, but I do it for charity every year. When I had an opportunity to come up here, I jumped at it. The only problem I have right now is I'm battling a bad back right now, so I'm not out on the course. I'm having a very enjoyable day with the college."
"Gerry's a great guy," Dillon said, "and we're really delighted to have him here. This annual scholarship golf tournament is one of the ways we're able to help students. Gerry is just very personable and wonderful to be with people."
Dillon was wearing his Super Bowl XIII and XIV rings. The Steelers, who were led by quarterback Terry Bradshaw, running back Franco Harris and a dominating defense nicknamed "The Steel Curtain," also won Super Bowl IX and X during his time with them.
"When I came to Pittsburgh in 1971, they had a history of losing for 40 years. My first season, we had a losing record. In 1972, Franco Harris was drafted, and we made it all the way to the AFC Championship and lost to Miami the year they had the perfect season.
"We probably had a team that could have gone all the way that year, but we were just young and didn't really know what it took to win. We got a taste of what it takes to be successful and the rewards that are involved, and you want to get back to that."
Mullins, a fourth-round draft pick out of USC, said his career highlight was not an individual accomplishment, but rather the joy of seeing longtime owner Art Rooney accept the Vince Lombardi Trophy for winning Super Bowl IX.
Mullins could have pointed to a point in that game when he made the key block to spring Harris into the end zone of a 16-6 win over Minnesota.
"It was just another play," he said. "I got on national TV for an interview after the game, so everybody thought it was great. There wasn't a whole lot of scoring in that game, so anything to get a plug in, it trickled all the way down to the offensive linemen, which is pretty rare."
The Steelers' success led to success for some outside of football, most notably Bradshaw, who is a comical studio analyst for FOX NFL Sunday. Mullins was Bradshaw's road manager for about six weeks when the QB was a country singer in the 1970s, and he got to tag along on Bradshaw's excursions.
"He was on the Dinah Shore show when she was dating Burt Reynolds," Mullins recalled. "We went over to Dinah's house after the show, and Burt had made some derogatory comments about [Bradshaw] on a pre-Super Bowl TV special, and he wanted to set the record straight with Terry. Burt and Terry hit it off, and they were in a couple Burt Reynolds movies.
"Burt was probably the biggest movie star in Hollywood back in those days. I knew Terry was destined for bigger and better things. I was technically his road manager, but I really didn't do anything. I was his traveling companion. I sold records and signed autograph pictures."
The road was hard on Mullins, whose weight dipped from its normal 245 pounds to 210.
"I decided I have to make a choice. It's either the road or football because the rate I was losing weight, I would have been a wide receiver by the time I got back to training camp. I gave it up and came back to Pittsburgh."
It wasn't the first time 6-foot-3 1/2 Mullins' weight dipped well below what even offensive linemen weighed back then. He said he played against Dallas in Super Bowl X weighing 225.
"Franco was bigger than me," he said. "We were all pretty thin. We did a lot of running. It wasn't a big disadvantage for us because we were a trapping, pulling team, and speed was more important than size. Back in those days, there was only like one guy in the whole NFL that was over 300 pounds. Now, every team has about a dozen guys over 300 pounds."
Since he's played, the Steelers have won two more Super Bowls, including last season's heart-pounding win over the Arizona Cardinals.
"It's a different game from when I played," he said, "but the foundation of the organization is strong."
But the current Steelers have a long way to go to equal the success that they found in the 1970s.
"I don't think anybody in their wildest dreams would have thought about what we were able to accomplish in the 70s," Mullins said. "It was just a dream come true."
|06-13-2009, 10:00 AM||#2|
Join Date: Feb 2009
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Re: Ex-Steeler Mullins still living dream
"MOON" Mullins what a great name, had to be pretty quick to play guard at 225 lbs.
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