Bleier offers reward for recovery of rings

Updated: June 28, 2004, 2:06 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

Former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rocky Bleier, one of the players who contributed significantly to four NFL championships with the franchise during its halcyon days of the 1970s, has reported to police that three of his four Super Bowl rings were stolen over the weekend.

Bleier, 58, reported to Charlotte, N.C., police that the rings -- from Super Bowls IX, X and XIV -- were stolen from a suitcase he left in an unlocked room at the Charlotte Convention Center. According to a police report, a wallet also was stolen.

His fourth ring, from Super Bowl XIII, was on Bleier's finger as he delivered an address to the 116th Moose International Convention. Bleier, who has garnered acclaim as a motivational speaker since his retirement following the 1980 season, is offering a $2,500 reward for the return of the rings.

The appraised value of the Super Bowl rings is not known.

A decorated Vietnam veteran who overcame a severe foot wound to return to the playing field, Bleier played 12 seasons for the Steelers and still ranks No. 7 on the team's career rushing list (3,865 yards). Best known as a lead-blocker for Hall of Fame fullback Franco Harris, Bleier rushed for a career-best 1,036 yards in 1976.

In 1996, Bleier sold his Super Bowl rings to Herbert B. Conner, his attorney and friend, just before filing for bankruptcy. Bleier later exercised an option to buy back the rings.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.