Steelers legend Jon Kolb has been nominated for the 2021 NFL Salute to Service Award, the league announced on Monday.
Kolb, 74, was drafted by the Steelers in the third round of the 1969 NFL Draft out of Oklahoma State and became a starter at left tackle in 1971, maintaining that position through the entire Steelers’ Super Bowl run until his retirement after the 1981 season.
Kolb played in 177 games and made 138 starts for the Steelers in his 13-year career. He was selected as a first-team All-Pro after the 1979 season. In the 1978 and 1979 offseason, Kolb competed in the World’s Strongest Man competition, coming in fourth both times.
After his retirement as a player, he worked as the Steelers’ strength and conditioning coach, defensive line coach, special teams coach and tight ends coach from 1982-1991.
Since his retirement from football, Kolb, who was a member of the Army National Guard during his pro career, started a training company to work with active-duty military service members, veterans and other first responders, called Adventures in Training with a Purpose, or ATP.
“Through this non-profit, Jon and his staff work with children and adults, with purposeful physical training to improve their quality of life. ATP focuses on training veterans, active-duty military, and first responders to reach their peak performance through a mind, body, and soul regimen,” Kolb’s nomination read.
More than half of the clients at ATP’s three locations in Hermitage, Pittsburgh and Youngstown, Ohio are active-duty or military veterans, and they are seen free of charge through the foundation.
“Now more than ever, it’s essential that our nation come together to support and show appreciation for those Americans who are serving and have served our country, as well as their families,” said retired Vice Admiral John Bird, now the USAA Senior Vice President of Military Affairs. “This year’s nominees for the Salute to Service Award presented by USAA all deserve special recognition for stepping up to support our military community, and we are encouraged to see this list of diverse nominees coming from all areas of the NFL organization.”
One player associated with each team was nominated for the award. Those 32 nominees will be trimmed to a lost of finalists in January. The winner of the 2021 NFL Salute to Service Award will be unveiled during the NFL Honors award show the week of the Super Bowl. The 2020 winner was Atlanta Falcons executive Steve Cannon.