Mel Blount told you so. He's clean.
NFL commissioner Pete Roselle had cornerbacks Blount of the Steelers and Mel Morgan of the Bengals in his New York office Monday to review the head-jarring hits they made in the Pittsburgh-Cincinnati game of Oct. 17 for all the Monday night nation to see. Yesterday, Rozelle issued his findings.
Morgan - "The film and tape evidence clearly shows a deliberate forearm blow . . . to the head of Pittsburgh receiver John Stallworth well after Stallworth had caught a pass . . . and had begun running upfield. He was in the grasp of a tackler when the blow was delivered . . . The conduct in question was precisely what this office had in mind last month when clubs, coaches and players were warned that unnecessary vilence outside the rules of the game will be cause for serious league discipline up to and including multigame suspension." Sentence - one-game suspension without pay; Morgan will miss the Bengals' date Sunday with Houston.
Blount - Drew no penalty from game officials when he belted Bengal receiver Bob Trumpy, cracking his face mask and knocking him cold, and Rozelle concurred: "I am of the opinion that the contact occurred while both players were going for the ball. As a result, no disciplinary action is being taken against Mel Blount."
That's the Hon. Mr. Blount, who almost took his own coach, Chuck Noll, to court for damages in the offseason over being included in an NFL "criminol element" of alleged dirty players in the George Atkinson vs. Noll/Steelers slander trial:
Look out Frank Gifford and Don Meredith. That Monday night - while Howard Cosell was away, praise be - the Giffer remarked on air about the Blount play. "It's another hit that, well, it shouldn't take place . . . There isn't any room in football for it." And Danderoo responded, "I agree, Frank."
To which Mean Joe Greene, the Steeler defensive tackle, replied before Rozelle's decision. "The TV networks got Rozlele running." Not that Greene endorsed dirty play - "The referees aren't doing the job; throw the player out of the game and penalize the team. Just look at the film, fine their behinds if they deserve it, and let it be . . .
But don't overdo controlling violence, he said - "We're all going to be out there wearing skirts, or fashion pantyhose, before long" . . .