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The Steelers 1977 season begins here>>>

STEVE FURNESS - MR VERSATILE

Steve Furness media photoWith two of their six defensive linemen injured, the Steelers needed every available player and that included the walking wounded. Steve Furness suffered a bruised shoulder during the Dallas game leading to trainer Ralph Berlin asking Furness in the locker room with the game over, “Didn’t this hurt before, why didn’t you say something?”

“It’s part of the game,” Furness observed. “It’s part of the game. It didn’t enter my mind to come out. I was programmed to play no matter what.” The player suffered what he described as a “slight” shoulder separation during the first half when he fell on his shoulder and never missed a down.

If Furness had stayed on the sideline, it would have left his team with no real replacement. Linebacker Robin Cole would have been required to fill the gap. Vito Stellino suggested in the Post-Gazette that it’s doubtful Furness would have come out as the player had waited too long for his chance.

“It was a chance to play against Tony Dorsett, a million dollar player and everybody’s watching on TV,” explained Furness. “Once you’re in, you’re in. It’s a challenge and you want to play.” Furness has spent most of his career as the fifth man in a musical chairs game with only four seats and now he had one of those chairs, he didn’t want to lose it.

When he moved from right tackle to left end after L.C. Greenwood and John Banaszak went down in the Denver game, Furness had the unique record of starting at four different positions in three years.
He started in seven games in 1975 at left defensive tackle when Joe Greene was injured and last year he opened the season at right end when Dwight White was ailing and started three games. An ankle injury forced him onto the sideline.

“I never had any doubts I could play,” he said. “It was frustrating mentally. A lot of times you don’t get any answers. You can’t achieve any goals if you don’t play.” When Ernie Holmes showed up at camp overweight and distracted, Furness stepped in and won the right tackle spot.

His versatility enabled Furness to switch positions with the injuries to Greenwood and Banaszak. He doesn’t worry about where he plays, as long as he is playing. “I can’t tell myself I made mistakes because I moved from tackle to end,” he said. “I suppose I could let it blow my mind, but I am used to moving around and being told this, put here and subbed in and out.”

Working with Joe Greene is a benefit Furness enjoys. “I think we work together well. We’re about the same height and he helps me psychologically. He doesn’t want me to get down on myself.”

JACK LAMBERT TO RETURN?

Struggling for three weeks with a knee injury that had kept him off the field, Jack Lambert remarked, “Now at least there’s light at the end of the tunnel,” before joking, “And as somebody once said, ‘I hope it’s not a train.’”

With the playoffs back in the Steelers sights, Lambert was realistic, “Just because we beat Dallas doesn’t mean we are in the playoffs,” although he did admit, “We keep playing the way we are now, we’re going to be all right.”

Talking about his enforced layoff, Lambert said, “This knee thing really opened my eyes. I’ve played for three and a half years and I’ve never had any kind of serious injury, and this time I came close to surgery. I’ve always said, ‘Well my career would be over – I might not ever be able to play again – but it wasn’t a realisation.”

Reflecting on the team’s turnaround since his injury, Lambert noted, “It’s just the last two weeks we’ve cut down on our turnovers,” before adding, “I could tell before the Dallas game that these guys were ready to play, all fired up.”


THREE RIVERS STADIUM


Pittsburgh Press photo of construction April 11 1969

 

TERRY BRADSHAW

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This site last updated February 18th 2017.

Ben's early games with the Steelers.

The Steelers 1976 season in full.
The Steelers 1975 season in full.
The Steelers 1974 season in full.

The first NFL champions the 1902 Pittsburgh Stars added June 2016

The Pittsburgh Americans added August 2015.

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