Born: September 7, 1932
Town: Maple Shade
Richard Adam Bielski was born September 7, 1932 in Maple Shade and grew up in Baltimore. Dick was a pudgy-but-athletic kid who played in the daily pick-up football games in the neighborhood park. When no one was around he would kick the ball, chase after it, and then run through an imaginary maze of tacklers.
At Patterson Park High School, coach Irv Biasi, stopped Dick in the hall and asked why he wasn’t trying out for the varsity. A job at the local bakery prevented him from practicing. Biasi got his hours changed and soon Dick was the Clippers’ starting fullback and kicker. During the 1940s, Patterson Park was a regional power. Dick’s teams won 29 straight games and, in 1948, they did not allow a point. He was All-Maryland as a senior and led the state in scoring with 63 points.
Dick earned a scholarship at the University of Maryland, choosing to stay close to home over an offer from USC. He led the Terps to 35 wins in four varsity seasons, and became a first-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in 1955. Quarterback Norm Van Brocklin liked his blocking and pass-catching abilities and eventually convinced coach Buck Shaw to convert him to tight end. He also handled the team’s kicking duties in his rookie year.
In 1960, the Eagles left Dick exposed in the expansion draft Dick and the Dallas Cowboys grabbed him. In 1961, he was the team’s starting tight end and place kicker, and made the Pro Bowl. He caught a TD pass from Y.A. Tittle in the second quarter to give the East squad its first touchdown. Dick returned home to Baltimore for his final NFL season in 1962. He caught 15 passes as a back-up end and did the kicking for the Colts, finishing with a team-leading 70 points.
Dick retired as a player and moved to the sidelines, where he coached for the Colts for 14 years. He was in charge of the kickers during the 1970 season, when Jim O’Brien booted the field goal that won Super Bowl V against his old coach, Tom Landry, and the Cowboys. Dick got his first and last head coaching job in the pros in 1984, when the USFL Washington Federals fired coach Ray Jauch after a 53–14 defeat on opening day. Dick went 3–14 and chose to stay home when the team moved to Orlando for the 1985 season.