Sam Davis, a valuable member of the Pittsburgh Steelers 1970s dynasty, was found dead Tuesday night after he was reported missing from the New Life Care Personal Home in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. He was 75 years old.
Police said that Davis, who walked out of the personal home around 7 a.m., was considered endangered because he suffered from dementia and was legally blind.
A former offensive guard, Davis spent his entire 13-year career with the Steelers. Born in Jacksonville, Florida, Davis attended Allen College before joining the Steelers in 1967, two years before Pittsburgh’s fortunes changed forever when the Steelers hired Chuck Noll as head coach.
Davis was one of five Steelers from Noll’s first team that was a part of Pittsburgh’s first championship team in 1974. He also started on Pittsburgh’s 1975 championship team while helping Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris rush for 10 scores while averaging 4.8 yards per carry that season.
Two years later, Davis was part of an offensive line that helped Harris and Rocky Bleier become the second pair of teammates in NFL history to each rush for over 1,000 yards in a single season.
Bleier paid his respects to Davis via Instagram on Tuesday night. Bleier shared several photos of him and Davis that included their shared spot on the cover of Sports Illustrated in December 1976.
“Sorry to hear about the passing of my good friend and teammate Sam Davis … #57 like Heinz Sauce! He was instrumental in helping me and Franco to each gain a 1,000 yards in one season. Rest In Peace Tight Man.”
In 1978, Davis started all 16 games at left guard while helping protect Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw, who earned both Super Bowl and league MVP honors that season. In that year’s Super Bowl, Davis’ blocking helped Bradshaw throw for 318 yards and four touchdowns in Pittsburgh’s second Super Bowl victory over the Dallas Cowboys in a four-year span.
In the video below, Davis (No. 57) won his matchup with Hall of Fame defensive tackle Randy White that helped give Bradshaw enough time to find John Stallworth for the game-tying score the the first half of Super Bowl XIII. The score was, at the time, the longest in Super Bowl history.
Davis retired after helping the Steelers win their fourth Super Bowl in six years following the 1979 season. In Super Bowl XIV, his final NFL game, Davis helped Bradshaw throw for 309 yards and two touchdowns in Pittsburgh’s 31-19 victory over the Los Angeles Rams. He was one of 22 Steelers from that era that was part of each of the franchise’s four Super Bowl teams.
Bradshaw, during his 1989 Hall of Fame induction speech, mentioned Davis when recalling a dream he had when he was a kid about one day playing on a championship team.
“Give me a left guard to trap, trap, trap,” Bradshaw recalled, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “and he gave me Sam Davis.”
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