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Gerry Mullins, Steelers Offensive Lineman, 1971-1979

October 31, 2011

Gerry Mullins: 

First, can you let readers know what you are up to these days – about your Industrial Metals & Minerals business and how you got started?

MM sells raw materials that are used in the production of glass. I started with them in January 1981 after retiring from the Steelers. Bob Prince, the Pirate Announcer, was my old boss. Bob Keaney was my neighbor and he introduced us shortly after my retirement. We hit if off and he offered me a job. I purchased the business upon Bob`s retirement in 1995..

Any lessons from playing with the Steelers that you were able to take and apply to this new career? If so, how?

I quess the work ethic that’s required to play professional sports. You must dedicate yourself to the task at hand. 

Craig Wolfley went into some detail in our interview with him describing how he had to prove himself as a rookie – how did you do so – and who was toughest on you?

I was told by the vet`s that special team performance would go a long way in showing the coaches your abilities.

Who helped mentor you when you were drafted in 1971 – and how did they do so?

Ray Mansfield and Bruce Van Dyke took me under their wings and guided me in the ways of the NFL

How great of a rivalry was there between the offensive and defensive lines during the 70’s – with so many great players on both sides of the ball, how heated were those practices?

We went full speed 3 days a week so practice was usually harder than some games. I played across from Joe Greene and so took care of me by not beating me to death. I couldn`t say as much for Ernie Holmes and Steve Furness.

You were there really at the start of the formation of the dynasty. Did you and team have any sense early on of how great the team would become?

No, I guess Coach Noll preaching one game at a time was ingrained with us. Take care of the task at hand and good things will come.

What did Coach Noll and the front office do to turn that team around, in your opinion? When did you realize the team was ready for big things?

Chuck and the front office drafted the team anchors early on and brought in good people to compliment them. Chuck kept the people who were winners. We were able to stay together for the better part of the 70`s and learned to win together.

There was some discussion earlier this season on the use of cut blocking by other teams on the Steelers’ defensive linemen. What are your thoughts on this blocking technique and did you use it often?

We cut blocked all the time. There are a lot of rules now that weren`t in place in the 70`s which protect the players better. It was open season back in th 70`s.

Teams today seem to consistently run into the “Super Bowl Hangover” conundrum. How did those Steelers teams avoid that pitfall and remain driven when most teams had so much trouble finding success after Super Bowls?

There were no free agents in the 70`s so we kept the same players over an extended period. Now when you win a Super Bowl you lose a lot of good players to free agency.

The game has changed dramatically over the years. As an offensive lineman, what are your thoughts on the direction of the NFL now? Would you have preferred playing in this more pass-focused league?

With the size of players today I don`t know if I would have been given a chance.

Any last thoughts for readers?

Here we go Steelers, here we go.

Thnks Ron

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