Bradshaw gets warm greeting in return
Since he retired from the NFL following the 1983 season, Terry Bradshaw has accomplished many things. He has been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he has become a popular television color analyst for FOX, and he has written two books.
Monday night, Bradshaw wrote the final chapter in his Steelers career.
For the first time in almost 20 years, Bradshaw set foot on a field for a Steelers game. He served as an honorary captain and was honored with a No. 12 Steelers jersey at halftime.
It was a replica of the jerseys — on which the patch AJR was sewn — that the Steelers wore during the 1988 season, the season Steelers owner Arthur J. Rooney died.
Having failed to return for Rooney's funeral or the final game at Three Rivers Stadium, Bradshaw wasn't sure what sort of welcome he would receive from Steelers fans.
The answer was clear.
No. 12 Bradshaw jerseys that haven't been seen in years surfaced again. Signs such as "Welcome back Bradshaw" and "A Bradshaw Celebration" were scattered across Heinz Field.
The show of adoration, by Steelers president Dan Rooney, vice president and general counsel Art Rooney II and by the Steelers fans, was enough to almost bring Bradshaw to tears.
"I would like to thank all of you," Bradshaw said, standing near midfield. "There's no place like home.
"It's important that I let every one of you know we all need a family. … We all need our Steeler family. Though I have probably been somewhat of an enigma to you, believe me, I have missed you all."
The crowd of 62,800 erupted.
Chants of "Ter-ry, Ter-ry, Ter-ry" rained down.
"That sounds good," said Bradshaw, who heard plenty of boos early in his career, something he had said he would never forget. "That's right. You can keep going."
Bradshaw hugged the Rooneys and kissed his two daughters, who accompanied him on the field.
"We're honoring one of the Steeler greats tonight," Art Rooney II said. "Ladies and gentlemen, the Blond Bomber, Terry Bradshaw."