The first football legend to respond to the Gratitude to Greats project was Steelers Hall of Fame center, Dermontti Dawson. Nicknamed “Dirt” because of the way he would just “grind” defenders into the ground, Dawson succeeded Mike Webster, who was the center in front of Terry Bradshaw for the 70s dynasty era Steelers, the greatest era in franchise history, as the leader of a Steelers offensive line for 13 years. Dawson’s blocking opened the door for the Steelers’ offense to produce the most points in the NFL in 1995 en route to an AFC Championship, the club’s first in sixteen years since those Steel Curtain dynasty days of the 70s. Also, a great run blocker, Pittsburgh led the league in rushing in both 1994 and 1997 thanks to the Steelers offensive line anchored by Dawson. Dawson also is second all-time in most games played for the Steelers.
Contrary to his ruthless grinding of defenders he exhibited on the field, Dawson has been known, from what I have heard, to have one of the most cordial, positive, demeanors of the Pro Football Hall of Famers toward fans, and it shows in this letter. Dawson gave me a great deal of advice about how far a positive attitude and faith will go in a time like this, and I will always be grateful for Mr. Dawson going out of his way to send me that letter.
Thank you so much, Mr. Dawson! I invite you all to like Dermontti’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/DermonttiDawson/