Former professional American football player Robert Patrick “Rocky” Bleier was born on March 5, 1946. In 1968 and from 1970 to 1980, he played halfback with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the National Football League (NFL).
Bleier was born and raised in Appleton, Wisconsin. He was the oldest of Bob and Ellen Bleier’s four children, and the family of six resided above their pub, Bleier’s Bar.
When he was younger, he ran a paper route. He attended Xavier High School, where he competed in basketball and football, and graduated in 1964.
Bleier was a three-time all-state rushing back in football and was an all-conference linebacker and defensive back. In basketball, track, and football, he served as team captain.
At the University of Notre Dame at Notre Dame, Indiana, Bleier played collegiate football before earning a business management degree in 1968.
The Fighting Irish won the national title during his junior year in 1966, and he served as team captain as a senior in 1967. The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted him 417th overall in the 16th round of the 1968 NFL/AFL Draft.
When Bleier returned to the team, he changed to number 20 since Preston Pearson was donning number 26, which was the number he wore his rookie season before departing for Vietnam.