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Thread: Sticking A Needle In The Steel Curtain

  1. #1
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    Sticking A Needle In The Steel Curtain

    This was from the Washington Times... Personally, I don't think there was any doubt about steroid usage on our team back then, and really don't view it as a big issue because they were not illegal at the time. But nonetheless, it does somewhat tarnish the overall perception of the Steelers.
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    Sticking a needle in the Steel Curtain
    Dan Daly
    Thursday, June 26, 2008

    The last thing the NFL needs right now is Terry Bradshaw prattling on about using steroids - any kind of steroids - in the 1970s. The Spygate scandal, after all, continues to reverberate like a helmet-to-helmet hit, and hardly a day goes by, it seems, when some player, past or present, doesn't wind up in the poky.

    The league has been only too happy in recent years to let baseball look like the one with the performance-enhancing-drug problem. But now here comes Chatty Terry talking on Dan Patrick's radio show about using steroids to hasten the healing process - but not, he claimed, "to get bigger and stronger and faster."

    Bradshaw later said he was referring to cortisone shots - corticosteroids - which aren't illegal and, in football, are about as common as Ace bandages. And maybe he was. I mean, when I look back at Terry in those days, I don't think "Dianabol," I think "Propecia."

    But Bradshaw quarterbacked one of the most famous teams in history, the Steel Curtain Steelers, and some of his mates, we later discovered, had dealings with anabolic steroids. Steve Courson, an offensive guard for Pittsburgh from 1978 to '83, wrote a book about his abuse, "False Glory," and several others have also been linked to the stuff, including Hall of Famer Mike Webster.

    So with aspersions being cast on the Patriots' three Super Bowl wins because of their Robert Ludlum tactics, the NFL certainly doesn't want the Steelers' four titles in the '70s being revisited. Especially because - who knows? - there might be more disclosures.

    And then where would we be? Before long, people might want to dig up Jim Thorpe again, just to make sure he wasn't On Something when he ran for all those touchdowns for the Canton Bulldogs.

    The story of the NFL and steroids - the whole story, that is - isn't widely known, and the league would just as soon keep it that way. Fortunately, some good reporting has been done on the subject by various publications, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and York (Pa.) Daily Record among them.

    It might surprise you to learn, for instance, that the San Diego Chargers were being dispensed steroids during their training camp in 1963. Ron Mix, the Chargers' great offensive tackle, wrote a camp diary for Sports Illustrated that year, and the July 22 entry read:

    "Immediately after lunch a special meeting was held, and [coach] Sid [Gillman] introduced Alvin Roy to the squad. Alvin Roy, Sid said in his introduction, represented what every pro football team would have in the future: a strength coach.

    "After the meeting, the squad went to an open area beside the dressing room where weight-training facilities had been set up. Mr. Roy demonstrated the exercises that we would be doing each day and then checked the squad individually to make sure we were using the proper technique."

    Only recently did Mix reveal to journalist-author Matt Chaney, "They had [steroid] pills set out in cereal bowls. We were told to take a pill after every meal, and we did. And they actually worked. Normally in training camp, I'd feel my strength going down, but it actually increased."

    The Chargers won the AFL championship that year (though Mix said most players stopped taking the pills when they learned of the dangers). Later, Roy was with the Chiefs when they won Super Bowl III. He was also on the staff of a Cowboys team that went to the Super Bowl. Hmmm.

    One of Gillman's assistants in San Diego, by the way, was Chuck Noll - the same Chuck Noll who coached the Steelers to glory. In 1970, the year after he took over in Pittsburgh, Noll hired as his strength coach Louis Riecke, a former weightlifter who had finished second in the 1961 U.S. nationals ... thanks to regular doses of Dianabol prescribed by a doctor.

    Riecke and the Steelers have always denied promoting performance-enhancing drugs in the '70s, but the confessions of Courson and the rest paint an alternative picture. We'll probably never know how widespread steroid use was back then, how much it figured in the Steelers' success, but it's not a cloud the NFL wants hovering over one of its greatest dynasties, a team that's represented in Canton by nine players and a coach.

    But then Bradshaw starts yakking on a radio show and, rightly or wrongly, the whole question comes up again: Did they or didn't they - and to what extent?

    To think there wasn't something going on is to ignore the ultracompetitive nature of football players, never mind coaches and owners. As Riecke's steroid-pushing doctor once said, "I honestly believe that if I'd told people back then that rat manure would make them strong, they'd have eaten rat manure."

  2. #2
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    Re: Sticking A Needle In The Steel Curtain

    people want to paint this horrible picture about the steelers of the 70's but damn, the chargers had their steroids in a cheerios bowl!
    that just shows what the league was like back then. most research that had been done on steroids focused on the performance gains that were possible not the harmful side effects. think about it, alot of the medical research was focused on the possible improvements not the side effect of different drugs and procedures. i mean for christs sakes they were still doing frontal lobatomies on people prior to vietnam. after WWII they were giving soldiers LSD (i think it was LSD-90% sure...)for shell shock. they weren't focused on the side effects. especially like we are now. now that lawsuits and criminal investigations are the priority for everyone.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Sticking A Needle In The Steel Curtain

    Agreed birt.... A completely different era/age.... But folks will look to ANYTHING for "negative press"... And yea, it DOES somewhat shade the accomplishment to a small extent, but not by much IMO.

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    Re: Sticking A Needle In The Steel Curtain

    i keep getting this image of the san diego chargers sitting at a table with a big bowl of d-ball and their all grinning. shawn merriman would fit into that picture with no problem...
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  5. #5
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    Re: Sticking A Needle In The Steel Curtain

    Here's my opinion on the steroids use in the 70's, based on all I've read

    1. Steroids use seems to have been very widespread at the time, based on the positive effects of using them, and not much was known about the negative side effects.

    2. The Steelers appear to have been one of the teams that used them.

    3. As far as I'm concerned, since they weren't illegal or even against league rules at the time, it in no way tarnishes our dominance of that decade. To me, it wouldn't matter if every single Steelers player from the 70's came out and said that they used steroids every day of their career. It wasn't against the rules.

    4. Having said that, and knowing what we know now about the negative side effects of steroids use, I wish none of them had ever taken them. I hate the fact that we appear to be losing players from that era (some which can possibly be attributed to steroids use, others which can't) I would hope that if we knew then what we know now, none of our players would have taken them, but unless jiga can fire up his time machine and go back and tell them, we can't change what's in the past.

    5. I hope I don't hear of any current players using steroids, and if I do, I would hope that that player doesn't remain on the team.


  6. #6
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    Re: Sticking A Needle In The Steel Curtain

    I am very skeptical that as a team the Steelers of the '70s, '80s, '90s thru present were/are abusers of Anabolic Steroids. Mike Webster, and of course Steve Courson (admitted user) and Terry Long are the only names that might be associated with those drugs. Larry Brown did bulk up a bit when he switched from TE to OT, but if my memory serves me correctly there were'nt any significant gains on his physique.
    Joe Greene says he did'nt use them. Jon Kolb (participated in strongman competitions) said the thought of using them "scared him to death." Chuck Noll was always after Ernie Holmes to lose weight. Lambert and Ham looked like sticks when you compare their physiques to some of today's LBs.
    Former Steeler DC, Jim Haslett (sp?), admitted to using steroids while playing with Buffalo. While coaching with the Steelers Haslett made a statement that the championship Steeler teams must have been on Steroids (of course that helped fuel the fire). Dan Rooney said that steroid use must have given Haslett a disease of the brain. Haslett later apologised.
    I remember Noll saying he preferred shorter and faster O lineman. He equated moving defenders with proper execution, strength and leverage. It was easier for the shorter guys to move the taller ones according to his philosophy.
    If you take a look at those players during their playing years their bodies don't reflect any bulk that could be called significant gains at least by today's measures IMO.
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    Re: Sticking A Needle In The Steel Curtain

    hoss, I danced around the subject a few weeks ago with you about this subject trying to be politically correct.... And your opinion is by all means your perogative....

    ...But NOW you have included Mike Webster in the same sentance as Courson.... Bad move. Wrong move. Big mistake.... Webster had his issues, and nothing was attributed to steroid usage. Actually, I think his autopsy revealed multiple trauma issues related to frontal lobe concussions. Hits to the front of the head. ... I agree with you that several, if not more, players did NOT use steroids.... If you wish to think that NONE did, that is cool as well.... But do NOT, and I repeat... DO NOT include Webster in the group that did unless you can provide proof otherwise....

    He abhorred steroids.... He read many a folk the riot act when the issue was brought up. He did it the hard way. Read the book I suggested to you, and you will understand. Even during the "strongest man" years, he talked about it....

    Your opinion is yours, but get the facts straight before you start tossing names into the hat.... Webster was not one of them. Period.

  8. #8
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    Re: Sticking A Needle In The Steel Curtain

    Quote Originally Posted by motter1975
    Here's my opinion on the steroids use in the 70's, based on all I've read

    1. Steroids use seems to have been very widespread at the time, based on the positive effects of using them, and not much was known about the negative side effects.

    2. The Steelers appear to have been one of the teams that used them.

    3. As far as I'm concerned, since they weren't illegal or even against league rules at the time, it in no way tarnishes our dominance of that decade. To me, it wouldn't matter if every single Steelers player from the 70's came out and said that they used steroids every day of their career. It wasn't against the rules.

    4. Having said that, and knowing what we know now about the negative side effects of steroids use, I wish none of them had ever taken them. I hate the fact that we appear to be losing players from that era (some which can possibly be attributed to steroids use, others which can't) I would hope that if we knew then what we know now, none of our players would have taken them, but unless jiga can fire up his time machine and go back and tell them, we can't change what's in the past.

    5. I hope I don't hear of any current players using steroids, and if I do, I would hope that that player doesn't remain on the team.

    You hit on the head with #3.

  9. #9
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    Re: Sticking A Needle In The Steel Curtain

    TB should have kept his yap shut.

  10. #10
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    Re: Sticking A Needle In The Steel Curtain

    Quote Originally Posted by stlrz d
    TB should have kept his yap shut.
    Amen! He should of thought to himself what good will come out of what I am getting ready to say.

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