Mel Blount
refer to caption
Blount in 2010
No. 47
Position:Cornerback
Personal information
Born: (1948-04-10) April 10, 1948 (age 74)
Vidalia, Georgia
Height:6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight:215–220 lb (98–100 kg)
Career information
High school:Lyons (Lyons, Georgia)
College:Southern (1966–1969)
NFL Draft:1970 / Round: 3 / Pick: 53
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Interceptions:57
Interception yards:736
Touchdowns:2
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

Melvin Cornell Blount (born April 10, 1948) is an American former professional football player who was a cornerback for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League (NFL) for fourteen seasons. A five-time Pro Bowler, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1989.[1]

Blount is considered one of the best cornerbacks to have ever played in the NFL.[2] His physical style of play made him one of the most feared defensive backs in the game at a time when pass interference rules were less stringent. He founded the Mel Blount Youth Home.

Early life

Blount was born in Toombs County, Georgia.[3] The early years of his life were spent in poverty on a Georgia farm. Blount was a star in baseball, football, basketball, and track at Lyons High School. After graduation he was offered a scholarship to Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. While there he was a Pro-Scouts All-American pick as both safety and cornerback.

Playing career

Blount was the prototype cornerback of his era and a significant reason why the Pittsburgh Steelers were the dominant team of the National Football League in the 1970s.[3] A third-round draft choice of the Steelers in 1970, he had the size, speed, and quickness for the position, plus the toughness and mental ability to adjust his coverage tactics and excel despite rule changes that favored receivers.[citation needed]

A Pro-Scouts All-American as both a safety and cornerback at Southern, Blount became a starter in the Steelers secondary beginning in 1972. That season, he did not allow a single touchdown.[citation needed] Blount was equally effective playing either zone or man-to-man defense. Known for his rugged style of play, his specialty was the "bump-and-run" pass defense. Because of his size and speed, he physically overpowered pass receivers.[citation needed]

Midway through his career however, the rules regarding pass coverage were changed making such harassment of a receiver illegal.[citation needed] The rule would come to be named the Mel Blount Rule.[citation needed] Blount had 57 interceptions in his career; he returned them for 736 yards and two touchdowns. He intercepted at least one pass in all 14 NFL seasons and led the league in interceptions with 11 in 1975. Blount also was used as a kickoff returner early in his career. He totaled 36 returns for 911 yards and a 25.3-yard average. He also recovered 13 opponents' fumbles, two of which he returned for touchdowns.

Blount, who was named the NFL's most valuable defensive player in 1975 by the Associated Press, earned All-Pro acclaim in 1975, 1976, 1977, and 1981. He also was a four-time All-AFC selection and played in five Pro Bowls. His fumble recovery in the 1979 AFC Championship Game led to the Steelers' winning touchdown in a 27–13 victory over the Houston Oilers. Earlier in Super Bowl XIII Blount's interception began a Pittsburgh drive which resulted in a go-ahead touchdown in a 35–31 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

After the NFL

Main article: Mel Blount Youth Home

Following his football career, Blount became Director of Player Relations for the NFL, serving in the position from 1983 to 1990. He also became active in charity work. He founded the Mel Blount Youth Home, a shelter and Christian mission for victims of child abuse and neglect in Toombs County, Georgia in 1983. In 1989, he opened a second youth home in Claysville, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh. The Mel Blount Youth Home was investigated for the use of corporal punishment in the 1990s.[4]

Legacy

In 1989, Blount was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. He was inducted in the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1990 and the Black College Football Hall of Fame in 2011.[5] In 1994, he was named to the NFL's 75th anniversary All-Time team. In 1999, he was ranked number 36 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players.

Blount has two daughters, Shuntel and Tanisia, and five sons: Norris, Dedrick, Akil, Jibri, and Khalid.

His son Akil played college football at Florida A&M and was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Miami Dolphins.[6] Jibri played college basketball at Cleveland State[7] before transferring to play for North Carolina Central University.[8] His youngest son, Khalid Blount, is a football player who was ranked as a two-star recruit by Rivals before attending Duquesne University.

Blount currently resides in Buffalo Township, southwest of Pittsburgh, on a 303-acre (1.23 km2) farm that includes the site of his former youth home.[9]

References

  1. ^ Bradley-Stek, Tara (March 16, 1984). "Mel Blount retires after 14 year career". The Gettysburg Times. AP. p. 13. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
  2. ^ Bofah, Kofi. "The greatest NFL cornerbacks of all time". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Hall of Famers: Mel Blount". The Official Site of the Pro FootballHall of Fame. Archived from the original on September 3, 2012. Retrieved September 5, 2012.
  4. ^ "Delinquent Care". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. April 10, 1993. Archived from the original on April 23, 2021. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
  5. ^ "All Inductees". BlackCollegeFootballHOF.org. Archived from the original on February 2, 2020. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  6. ^ Dani Bostick (May 1, 2016). "Akil Blount signs with Miami Dolphins was released and now has been signed the Pittsburgh Steelers". USAToday. Archived from the original on July 8, 2016. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
  7. ^ "Jibri Blount - Cleveland State Men's Basketball". Cleveland State Men's Basketball. Archived from the original on September 15, 2016. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
  8. ^ "North Carolina Central Eagles Roster". ESPN. Archived from the original on December 7, 2019. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
  9. ^ "Steelers' HOF Mel Blount continues pursuing his passion in retirement". WPXI.com. November 18, 2018. Archived from the original on November 29, 2018. Retrieved November 28, 2018.