Melvin Carnell Blount

Mel BlountMel Blount was born on April 10, 1948. He was the youngest of 11 children growing up on a farm in Vidalia, Georgia. The “Country Football” that his seven older brothers taught Mel instilled a desire to pursue sports. While attending high school at Lyons High in Lyons, GA, Mel played basketball, baseball, ran track and naturally played football. Mel excelled at football and upon graduation in 1966 he received a scholarship to Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. During his college career Mel was twice named to the Southwestern Athletic Conference first team. In his junior year he was named Most Valuable Player of the Conference. Mel was a natural who was selected to the Pro Scouts All American team at both safety and cornerback. In 1970, Mel graduated with a B.S. degree in Physical Education. 

That same year Mel Blount was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round of the draft (53rd player selected overall). Playing cornerback he started nine games as a rookie, with increased playing time in his second year. By his third year, Mel had assumed the starting position at cornerback full time and would hold it for the next 12 years. During his career with the Steelers Mel also returned 36 kickoffs for 911 yards. There were plenty of ‘Men of Steel’ during the glory years of the Steelers and Mel was certainly one. While playing in 200 games, spanning a 14-year career, Mel only missed one game. He also received many awards and set many records, with these being a few of the highlights:

1970 – 1983

  • Led the National Football League in interceptions in 1975 with 11 and was named the NFL’s defensive MVP
  • Named All-Pro in 1975, 1977 and 1981; All-AFC four times
  • Played in five Pro Bowls, named MVP of Pro Bowl in 1976
  • Played in six AFC Championships
  • Played in Super Bowls IX, X, XIII & XIV, all won by Pittsburgh
  • Had key interception in Super Bowl IX
  • 57 career interceptions for 736 yards which represented more than any player in Steeler History
  • 13 fumble recoveries, two for touchdowns

1989

  • Enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame during his first year of eligibility
  • Inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame

1990

  • Inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame 

Mel continued to be involved with football after his retirement as a player. From August 1983 to May 1990, Mel was the Director of Player Relations for the NFL. In 1990 he assumed a position as a consultant and member of the National Football League Commissioner’s Player Advisory Board.

During this same period of time Mel was appointed President of Mountaineer Magic Entertainment, Inc. This association was related to horse racing, and is located in Chester, WV. Mel had been an avid horseman since his days on the farm. In 1990, Mel won the Cutting Horse Championship in the Open Division at the Florida Cutting Horse Association Show. As a businessman and sportsman, Mel has been involved with the horse industry by breeding and raising thoroughbreds and quarterhorses.

Shortly before retiring from the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1983, Mel thought frequently of what his life’s work was to be. He had seen too many boys lost to a system that was failing them. He decided to found the Mel Blount Youth Home in Vidalia, Georgia to assist young boys in their pursuit to become a productive member of society. Longing to do more, in 1989 Mel decided to establish another Youth Home near his adopted hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. Mel succeeded in building a Youth Home in the rural location of Claysville, PA. Mel’s vision is to establish more Youth Homes throughout the United States. His compassion, service and perseverance have already given many young men the opportunity and the desire to pursue their potential.

Mel serves on the board of directors of numerous organizations concerned with the youth of this country. In 1989, he was spokesperson for SAFE AND SOUND, an organization involved in the prevention of child abuse. Mel has received many awards for his commitment to community service.

1989

  • Vectors Pittsburgh – Man of the Year Award

1990

  • Boy Scouts of America Pittsburgh – Service Award
  • Dapper Dan Pittsburgh – Al Abrams Award
  • National Conference of Christian and Jews – Peoplehood Award
  • NAACP – Human Rights Award

1991

  • Named 524th Daily Point of Light by President George Bush
  • Named one of the Eight National Heroes by U.S. News & World Report
  • Walter Camp Football Foundation – Man of the Year Award

1992

  • Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Southern University
  • Selected one of the Ten Most Caring People in America by The Caring Institute

1993

  • Author of the book, “The Cross Burns Brightly

1994

  • NFL 75th Anniversary All Time Team

1996

  • Martin Luther King, Jr.-Humanitarian Award

1997

  • Inducted into the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame

1998

  • PNC/Ray Mansfield Memorial Old Ranch Award

2000

  • NFL Alumni – Spirit Award

2002

  • NFL Alumni Order of Leather Helmet and Community Service Award 

2004

  • Gandhi, King, Ikeda Award Community Builders Award 

2006

  • Life’s Work Career Achievement Award

2007

  • Art Rooney Award’s Dinner - Bob Prince Humanitarian Award

2009

  • Gwendolyn J. Elliot Lifetime Achievement Award

2011

  • Inducted into Black College Hall of Fame

2012

  • Inducted into the Pennsylvania Hall of Fame

Mel is always looking for ways to help our youth and is a strong believer that:

“THE INDIVIDUAL PROTECTED AND NURTURED BY SOCIETY HAS AN OBLIGATION TO SOCIETY”-SOCRATES