Ex-Steelers Pro Bowler, NCAA wrestling champ Carlton Haselrig dies

Obit Haselrig Football

An autopsy will be conducted.

A six-time national champion heavyweight wrestler in college, Haselrig forced the NCAA to change the rules regarding Division II wrestlers competing for the Division I title in what is referred to in wrestling circles as the "Haselrig Rule".

Haselrig, born in Johnstown, Pa., was inducted into the Pitt-Johnstown Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009. The Steelers took a shot on him and it paid off.

Haselrig's run prompted the NCAA to create the so-called "Haselrig Rule", which bars small-school champions from moving on to the Division I tournament. Haselrig spent four years with the Steelers, earning Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro honors at right guard in 1992. Haselrig, who struggled with drugs and alcohol during and after his career, did not play in the National Football League in 1994. He attempted a comeback in 1995 with the Jets, starting 11 games that season.

Haselrig played in just nine games the following season. Instead, Haselrig was one of the most successful collegiate wrestlers of all time. Haselrig went on to a professional career in mixed martial arts after his football career. HIs last two fights were in Johnstown and Pittsburgh, respectively. He had a 3-2 record, including a final victory at Johnstown's Cambria County War Memorial. Haselrig was 54 years old.

"I like "Giant Killer" because my whole life I've had to slay the bigger opponents, ya know", Haselrig said when the book was released. Even with the Steelers, I was going against guys bigger than me.

He was a local sports hero in Johnstown, where he won a state wrestling title in 1984 despite being the only member of the Greater Johnstown High School wrestling team, which didn't have a varsity wrestling program, according to the Tribune Democrat. "Plus not playing college football and all".

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