What They Said…About Jerome Bettis
Some of Jerome Bettis’ former teammates shared what made the Hall of Fame finalist special on the field, as well as off the field, and why he should be a part of the HOF Class of 2014.
“He is one of the best of all time. His numbers, he has a Super Bowl. What he has done on the football field is easily deserving of Canton. He is the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“He was someone you knew put in the hard work, he wasn’t going to make mistakes, you could count on him. He was a proven guy, a veteran who always went hard.
“It was more than just how special he was as a football player. What he did on the football field spoke for itself. The leadership, the type of player he was. It was the locker room, off the field, the community. When I first got here it was the time the WWJD bracelets, What Would Jesus Do, came out and I would laugh when I was doing things and think, What Would Jerome Do. He is someone I tried to mold myself after. That is what made him so special, outside of the talent he had on the field.”
Wide Receiver Hines Ward:
“When Jerome ran over Brian Urlacher I think that was a signature play of who The Bus really was. Every time I see that play, I shake my head and think that is The Bus. That is what it’s all about. To do the things he did at that size is amazing. I don’t think there will ever be another big guy like Jerome who did it the way he did and for how long he did it.”
“He was one of those unique guys. A lot of running backs don’t have anything close to his size. He could have been an offensive lineman. His feet amazed us when we watched him. How fast he could get through a hole, the way he could make people miss, and his power after contact. When we got on third and short situations, I was on the punt team and I didn’t even get up because I knew he could at least get a yard. We rode The Bus like crazy and we all will hopefully be taking The Bus to Canton.”
Center Jeff Hartings:
“When you played the Pittsburgh Steelers during that period that Jerome Bettis played for the Steelers, you think what is the opponent going to be thinking about the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are going to be thinking about the defense, which was great for many years, and on the offensive side of the ball it was a guarantee the first two things out of the opposing coach’s mouth was going to be Jerome Bettis. To be that guy that an opposing team needs to be concerned about for a 10-year period, that is what makes a Hall of Famer.
“I have a unique experience in the NFL having blocked for Barry Sanders, one of the best all-time no doubt. He was a guy that made people miss better than anybody. Then to go block for Jerome Bettis, a punishing guy that enjoyed running over defensive backs, for an offensive lineman that was a little more enjoyable. He brought energy to the whole team. That is what set him apart, his personality and leadership on game day and in practice. He made playing football a lot of fun.”
Linebacker Joey Porter:
“Jerome was a linebacker that played running back. It’s that simple. Jerome was a physical guy. Most backs went away from traffic, linebackers love traffic. Jerome loved traffic. Running backs get in the hole and dodge guys. He would shake a guy every now and then to make fun of them and show he is big and can shake you.”
Nose Tackle Casey Hampton:
“It would have been a task to stop him. I didn’t want to go against him. It was good to have him as a teammate because he was going to grind it out and give it to people every game.”
Guard Alan Faneca:
“Jerome had a unique God-given combination of size and quickness. I would put his foot quickness up against anybody. On top of that he was a very smart football player. He could read the plays and always found a way to hit the right hole. When you put that together, it was a unique combination that has not been seen too much in the NFL.
“It was so much fun to block for him. It showed on game day every time he had a big run or hit on a linebacker and took him with him and he got up all excited. We fed off that energy and it made it fun.”
Guard Kendall Simmons:
“I feel like I am old school, give me a guy like that rather than a scat back who will just bounce around. I want somebody who wants to make you miss, but will stick their head in there and go after it.
“I haven’t seen anybody with his size, with feet as good as his and his ability to set up blocks. Other than Adrian Peterson, guys don’t do a good job of setting their blocks up. Most guys try to outrun you or run over you. Jerome could run over you or make you miss, but he did a good job of using his blockers.”