Who The Hell Was Rollin Putzier?

Rollin PutzierEd Bouchette referenced a defensive lineman today in his morning slog that the Steelers had signed in the late 80\’s because of injuries that was released as quick as he was signed because he failed his physical due to a bad drug test. Bouchette said that the Steelers re-signed that player several weeks later and he remained on the team until training camp the following season when he was abruptly released for having some small caliber hand guns in his dormitory room.

Bouchette never named the player this morning, but with a little research I discovered the player Bouchette was referring to was Rollin Putzier and he has quite a story behind him so I thought I would share it.

Putzier played his college ball at Oregon were he was a nose tackle and was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 4th round of the 1988 draft. That was the same year the Packers selected wide receiver Sterling Sharpe with their first round pick as well. The Packers organization opinions of Putzier were reportedly mixed at the time and it was the Packers scouting staff that pushed the hardest for his selection. Putzier ended up being released in late August as the Packers chose to keep defensive tackle Nate Hill, their 6th round 1988 draft pick, instead of Putzier because of better potential and feet.

The Steelers signed Putzier in early September to a one year contract as they were thin on the defensive line due to injuries as defensive end Keith Willis had been lost for the season because of a neck injury and backup nose tackle Lorenzo Freeman had been dinged up with an ankle injury. The Putzier contract was reportedly worth 80-90 K at the time and included incentives. Freeman was placed on the temporary injured reserve list the NFL used at the time and Putzier was to take his spot on the roster. The transaction was reversed after Putzier failed his physical.

Putzier was re-signed several weeks later and credited with 5 games on the Steelers roster. He was back in training camp with the Steelers in 1989, but was released after the handguns were discovered in his dorm room. He was signed shortly there after by the San Francisco 49ers, but was one of 13 NFL players suspended for 30 days by then NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle for testing positive for steroids. After reinstatement from his suspension, he remained on the 49ers roster that ended up winning the Super Bowl. He received a Super Bowl ring in the process.

Putzier was back in training camp with the 49ers in 1990, but was released prior to the start of the season. Putzier went on to play for the Montreal Machine of the now defunct WLAF (World League of American Football) in 1990 and was signed by the Denver Broncos roster in July of 1991. He did not make the Broncos final roster though as he was released in late August. His football career ended in 1995 according to published reports.

Not much is know about the life of Putzier immedietly following his football years, but his name surfaced 13 years later in 2008 after he was shot trying to break up a fight at his apartment in Huntsville, Alabama. Putzier, who then worked as a bouncer at a couple of nightclubs in town, was shot in the stomach by one of the men fighting and driven to the emergency room by a mystery man. Putzier\’s Super Bowl ring he earned with the 49ers went missing during the incident. Putzier had no insurance so medical bills mounted for him after the shooting. A benefit was held in July of 2008 at a local bar Putzier worked for to raise money for his expenses.

Putzier recovered, but his hard times were not over as he and his family lost their Huntsville town home just three days after Christmas in 2010 due to a fire. The local paper boy woke up the family early that morning after seeing smoke come out from the attic and was able to get the family out in time. Earlier this year, the same bar that helped raise money for Putzier after the shooting incident, once again hosted a benefit to raise money for the Putzier family.

Now you know a little bit more about the former Steelers player that Bouchette referenced this morning. It sounds like Putzier has had some ups and downs in life, but is managing to get through it with help from his friends.

  • Andy…

    Pretty obscure, Dave…we’re stretching for content a little, aren’t we? 🙂 Dang lockout!

  • Dave Bryan

    off the beaten path for sure, but found the back story pretty interesting myself as I love talking old obscure Steelers players myself. At 43 I have plenty memories of plenty of them.

  • Andy…

    At 63 I can’t remember all of them! 🙂

    I don’t like all the trouble has has been in, but it is obvious that some folks really care about him!

  • DP

    The article makes it sound like drugs were an issue when it was a one time thing. He also had a foot injury during his time with Pittsburg and San francisco, therefore missing a lot of time during his first years out of college. Look up anything on him at Oregon and he was right there with Ngata as far as talent at the college level.

  • Sunny Putzier

    My husband, Rollin Putzier, was not only a warrior on the field…but also off. He has survived so many personal defeats…which he has choosen to overcome….that it truly does not suprise me how he was a force to be reckend with in life and on the field…..If you would like to contact him, please email sunnycorbett@yahoo.com. He is eager to comunicate with fans.

  • Sunnycorbett

    My husband, Easy Andy… We are still alive…..lol….

  • Sunny Putzier

    Rollin Putzier was in hospital for 64 days…he was released august 2,2011 after liver failure and two open heart surgeries…gun shot, fire and life altering diagnosis could not stop my husband…Let alone kill him….Walk out or not….Who is stetching for news….This is what the lock out is about….Old players who have given thier bodies for American entertainment…and are abondoned later in life….wow…..

  • BobH

    What a horrible thing to write. You don’t know Rollin Putzier. I grew up with him – knew him – lived down the road from him – best friends from about the age of 10 till we graduated highschool and went our separate ways to make our lives happen. Rollin took steroids as all players did, as it was necessary in order to heal from surgeries quickly so as not to be cut from the team. The steroids he tested positive for were shot into the joints of his foot to help it heal from surgery. He healed and played and then was fired for taking the medicine necessary to heal. Print THAT. Or print that the gun he owned was a little 22 pistol his uncle gave him years before. We were all raised with guns – Idaho farm boys that we were. Guns are not the same thing to people raised in a city – they just aren’t. A little handgun like that to a farmboy is like an oversized jack-knife. You keep it unloaded and trigger locked and away from kids and you think nothing more of it. It’s just one of your personal possessions. Rollin is a good man. He was always coming to someone’s rescue. I remember when Rollin & Joe Tofflemire & Mike Valente & Scott Keinke & I faced down a half dozen guys from Cour d’Alene who were selling drugs in the highschool – we told them if they came back we’d beat their asses. The local cops didn’t want to tangle with them. We did. We could all have wound up shot – for what… to have some simp like you put us down for helping clean up our highschool? I hadn’t spoken to Rollin in years when I heard he had been shot breaking up a fight, but knowing him – he was probably coming to someone’s rescue. Print that, You disrespect people you don’t know and about whom you don’t deserve to write.

  • DerrickDuckPa

    Rollin is a good friend of mine from Oregon. He started 36 games in four years there. The NFL did not treat him fairly. Green Bay should have been able to diagnose his broken toe, which is why he failed his physical. Sport Magazine predicted he could be a fourth round steel. Still San Francisco should have resigned him. He always kept himself in great shape. I will always remember a quote at Oregon. Players who didn’t like the strength and conditioning coach (Mike Clark) at that time, were players who didn’t lift weights. Players who lifted weights like their suppose to, liked him.

  • Kim Bartlett II

    i have recently met rollin. and have talked with him everyday for the past 6 weeks. the guy is a really nice guy he is down to earth and easy to get along with. i have not known him as long as some of you have but i think i am better off by knowing him.