The summer of 1969 was one of the most transformational periods in U.S. history with events such as Apollo 11, Woodstock and the Vietnam War. And August 20, 1969, is a date that Pittsburgh Steelers legend and Vietnam veteran Rocky Bleier will never forget: the day he was wounded in combat.
In an emotional prime time ESPN SC Featured special airing on the 50th anniversary of his wounding, Bleier returns to the valley where he was wounded in Vietnam for the first time since that day in 1969. The Return debuts Tuesday, August 20, at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2 with a shorter version airing as the weekly SC Featured segment on SportsCenter Aug. 17-18.
Fifty years ago, Bleier had helped Notre Dame win a college football national championship and was in his rookie season with the Steelers when he received notice that he had been drafted into the U.S. Army. Three months into his deployment to Vietnam, Bleier was shot through the thigh and suffered a grenade blast to his foot. Doctors told him that he’d never play football again.
Steelers owner Art Rooney supported Bleier by placing him on injured reserve rather than cutting him from the team. Bleier then defied the odds, returning to football as a star running back on the “Steel Curtain” Steelers teams of the 1970’s and becoming the only war veteran to have four Super Bowl rings.
In The Return, Bleier joins ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi to go back to Vietnam. In the Hiep Duc Valley, Bleier walks on the same grounds where he and other members of “Charlie Company” were ambushed. The Return was the result of nearly 10 years of discussions between Bleier and ESPN features producer Jon Fish.
The Return was selected as “Best Documentary” at the recent LA Shorts International Film Festival.
Bleier will be at ESPN on August 20 and will appear on multiple shows and platforms to discuss The Return. In addition to the television pieces, a companion written piece by Jeremy Fowler will appear on ESPN.com.
Media contact: [email protected]
more recommended stories
No. 1 LSU Wins Big at The Home Depot College Football Awards
Atlanta, GA – December 12, 2019.
ESPN+ Original Series Peyton’s Places Continues with Episodes on Vince Lombardi, Elvis Presley, Dan Marino, The Immaculate Reception and More
Peyton’s Places library on ESPN+ A.
No. 1 LSU Tigers Head Coach Ed Orgeron Named Winner of The Home Depot Coach of the Year Award; Florida Atlantic’s Harrison Bryant Named 2019 Mackey Award Winner
Fresh off leading LSU to its.
ESPN Reaches Multi-Year Extension with MLB Analyst Doug Glanville
Doug Glanville returning to ESPN’s SportsCenter.
UFC 245 on ESPN+: Usman vs. Covington in Las Vegas
Three Championship Bouts Headline UFC’s Final.
2019 Men’s College Cup, FCS Playoffs and NCAA Volleyball Tournament Headline ESPN’s Weekend Fall Championship Lineup
FCS Playoffs Begin Quarterfinals Road to Pittsburgh Continues.
X Games Chongli 2020 Reveals First Wave of Invited Athletes and Competition Schedule
Aspen, CO – January 26, 2019.
ESPN’s Podcast Audience up 28% in November
45 Million Downloads – up 24%.
Commentator Teams Announced for ESPN’s Exclusive Coverage of the College Football Playoff, New Year’s Six, and Complete 35-Game Bowl Slate
CFP Semifinal at the PlayStation.
ESPN Wins the Night for the 14th Straight Monday as Giants-Eagles Delivers 11.4 Million Viewers
Last night’s Monday Night Football game.