Pro Football Hall of Fame cornerback , a five-time Pro Bowl selection with the , was honored Monday as a Hometown Hall of Famer™ by the Hall of Fame and Allstate Insurance Company
. A special plaque ceremony took place at Toombs County High School in Lyons, Ga., as Blount was presented the historic hometown plaque in front of a full gymnasium including more than 30 members of his family, the school’s student body and local dignitaries.
Presenting Mel with his plaque was his brother, Clint Blount, who shared childhood stories of playing football with Mel in Lyons. Clint also touched on Mel’s accomplishments on and off the field and advised students to use their talents in the right way by following the guidelines and rules set for them just like Mel has done in life and as a player in the NFL.
Following a dance and cheer from the school’s cheerleading squad and a performance by the pep band, Mel unveiled the plaque and stepped to the podium. He recognized his wife, family members and the community for the positive and supportive role they played in his life growing up in Lyons.
“What an honor it is to come home and have such an honor bestowed upon me,” said Blount. “You never get where you are by yourself. I’m standing on the shoulders of a lot of people. Today marks a day in history not for me, but for you. I’m an example that if you’re willing to do whatever it takes to reach your dream, it will happen.
“The journey wasn’t always easy for me,” he shared. “There were many times I had to pick myself up and keep going but if you stay committed and dedicated, you can be a Hall of Famer not only in sports but in life one day too.”
In closing the ceremony, special recognition was given to a group of young men in attendance that are all currently receiving assistance at the Youth Home in nearby Valadia, Ga. The Blount Youth Home and Academy helps young men by providing a safe, nurturing, structured environment and by teaching them life skills to prepare them for successful transition back to their families and communities.
In addition to the plaque, a commemorative Hometown Hall of Famer™ road sign will be on display in Lyons.
Additional speakers included event emcee and Toombs County High School Principal Doug Alexander; Larry Allen, Allstate Insurance Company; and George Veras, president and CEO of Pro Football Hall of Fame Enterprises.
“This plaque represents the spirit of hard work and community that helped Mel get to the Pro Football Hall of Fame ,” said Veras. “That same spirit exists today in Toombs County and take advantage of that, like Mel did, to become a Hall of Famer in your own chosen path ”
A third-round draft choice of the Steelers in 1970, Blount had ideal size, quickness and mental toughness to adjust coverage tactics. Blount recorded 57 career interceptions which remains a Steelers record today. He returned those picks for 736 yards including two for touchdowns. Blount intercepted at least one pass in each of his 14 seasons and led the NFL with 11 picks in 1975.
Named the NFL’s most valuable defensive player in 1975 by the Associated Press, Blount earned All-Pro honors in 1975-77 and 1981. His fumble recovery in the 1979 AFC Championship Game led to the Steelers winning touchdown in a 27-13 victory over the Houston Oilers. Blount started in four Steelers Super Bowl victories in Super Bowls IX, X, XIII and XIV.
Blount was named to the NFL’s 75th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1994 and is a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1980s. He was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Famer in 1989.
“Like Hall of Famers including , we at Allstate know and understand the value of hometown pride, which we saw here today at Toombs County High School. That is why we are proud to be a part of this program,” said Larry Allen, Allstate Insurance Company.
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