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Steve Courson
No. 77, 72
Position: Guard
Personal information
Date of birth: (1955-10-01)October 1, 1955
Place of birth: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Date of death: November 10, 2005(2005-11-10) (aged 50)
Place of death: Farmington, Pennsylvania
Career information
College: South Carolina
NFL draft: 1977 / Round: 5 / Pick: 125
Career history
Career NFL statistics
Games played: 103
Games started: 73
Fumble recoveries: 6
Stats at NFL.com

Stephen Paul "Steve" Courson (October 1, 1955 – November 10, 2005) was an American football guard for the National Football League's Pittsburgh Steelers.

Early years[edit]

Steve Courson grew up in Longmeadow, Massachusetts and went to Longmeadow High School . He played on the offense and defense lines and graduated in 1973 in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. His #71 was retired, and he is the only football player in Gettysburg High School history to receive such an honor.[citation needed]

After graduating from Gettysburg, Courson went on to play on the offensive line at the University of South Carolina.

Football & steroids[edit]

During his freshman year at the University of South Carolina, Courson later stated that:

"I got banged around by older, stronger kids. I knew at the time I had to do a lot of work. I knew I had to go on drugs. I wasn't going to be out there just to be out there. I had to be the best. I only did steroids the summer before my sophomore year. My body weight went from 225 to 260 in a month and a half. I didn't need them after that."[1]

He played for the Steelers from 1978–1983 and retired in 1985 after two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In 1991, his book False Glory: The Steve Courson Story, about his life in football when he used steroids, was published. He was one of the first American football players to admit to using steroids and harshly criticized them, making nearly 100 speeches a year to high school and college athletes about their dangers. Courson bench pressed 605 pounds (274 kg) but came to feel ashamed and guilty that he really didn't lift the weight – it was the power that steroids gave him.[citation needed] Courson was one of the first players to confess he had been using steroids during his playing career. He suffered from a heart condition which was believed to have been caused by his steroid use.[2]

After his career Courson was effectively blackballed by the NFL because of his outspoken stance on steroids.[citation needed] He had a spell as a high school football coach in the 1990s. Courson's wife Cathy committed suicide. After her death he met Denise "Dee" Masciola, who became his girlfriend.


Courson lived near Pittsburgh for the rest of his life. In November 2005, he died in an accident at his home in Farmington, Pennsylvania. Courson had been cutting down a 44-foot (13 m) tree on his property, but a gust of wind changed the direction of its fall, and he moved into its path while attempting to prevent his dog from being struck. The dog, a black Labrador retriever, was found alive guarding Courson's body when the tree was removed.[3]

In the months before his death in 2005, Courson wrote a 5,000-word letter expressing disappointment that more players weren't open about their steroid use and saying the league's enormous popularity relies on a "myth" of its players as drug-free heroes. "I believe the NFL is a prisoner to their own public relations myth," Courson said in the letter, which was found on the computer of his western Pennsylvania home after he was crushed to death at age 50 by a tree he was cutting down. "The level of deception and exploitation that the NFL requires to do business still amazes me." Courson, who became one of professional sports' first steroids whistleblowers by detailing his use in a 1985 Sports Illustrated interview, wrote the letter to a former Pittsburgh Steelers teammate he played with on Super Bowl-winning teams in 1978 and 1979.

Courson is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ William Oscar Johnson (1985-05-13). "Getting Physical-and Chemical". Sports Illustrated. Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2009-08-28. 
  2. ^ See Courson v. Bert Bell NFL Player Retirement Paln, 214 F.3d 136 (3d Cir. 2000)
  3. ^ http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/search/s_462321.html

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Courson — Please support Wikipedia.
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46 news items

SportsBlog.com (blog)

SportsBlog.com (blog)
Wed, 13 May 2015 07:23:04 -0700

In a 1985 Sports Illustrated article, Steve Courson, an offensive lineman from the Super Bowl winning 1979 Pittsburgh Steelers team who had previously confessed to using steroids, blamed a heart condition that he developed on their use. However ...

Ellwood City Ledger

Ellwood City Ledger
Tue, 12 May 2015 20:50:52 -0700

Steve Courson, the late Steelers offensive lineman whose career overlapped those of Webster and other players from those '70s Super Bowl teams, said he was given steroids while in Pittsburgh. “I didn't like using steroids. But I also didn't like being ...


Sun, 22 Feb 2015 18:00:16 -0800

Last year, linebacker James Harrison had retired until a rash of injuries resulted in the Steelers luring him back to Pittsburgh. This year, Harrison apparently won't have to be lured. “I decided to hold off on retirement, so it's time to pack up and ...


Tue, 31 Mar 2015 04:15:22 -0700

The punishments imposed Monday on the Browns and Falcons for their violations of game-integrity provisions suggested a surprising degree of lenience from the league. Sure, the teams will pay a combined $600,000 into the NFL's coffers (fine money ...


Mon, 22 Dec 2014 07:26:14 -0800

... after forty years would call the steelers on this, as the past is rehashed, only the fans from the sour grapes league bring this up-- steve courson was a late addition, and played almost no role in their greatness--this was the greatest team ever ...

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Thu, 16 Oct 2014 20:45:07 -0700

And his lawyer said Webster tried to raise money for former Steeler Steve Courson, who was suffering from heart problems. But as time wore on, things changed. Webster and his old friends would lose track of each other for years at a time. Apkarian said ...
Charleston Post Courier
Fri, 15 Aug 2014 14:01:47 -0700

Just read a article about Steve Courson. Ex Gamecock and the pros. He was banned from pro football for telling, and writing a book about the steroid use in the NFL. And, I didn't know he had died in a tree cutting accident in 2005. Reply · Like ...


Sun, 15 Jun 2014 11:03:45 -0700

Hall of Fame coach Chuck Noll died Friday at the age of 82. Those hoping to pay their respects can do so tonight. Via the Associated Press, a public viewing will be conducted on Sunday from John A. Freyvogel Sons in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh.

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