Dermontti Dawson knows what Jerome Bettis is going through right now as he went through the same thing the last few years, waiting to see if this will be the year the Hall of Fame will become a reality.
Dawson, the former Steelers center who was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2012, was a finalist the three years prior to his election. Each year when he didn’t get in, he knew he just had to be patient and wait his turn and his time would hopefully come.
“That is something I always told people when I was considered,” said Dawson. “You just have to be patient. You put in the hard work and it’s just a matter of time. It’s out of your control. You just have to wait your turn. When they feel you are ready to go in, they will elect you in.”
Bettis, the former Steelers running back who is number sixth all-time in the NFL in rushing, is a finalist for the third straight year and Dawson thinks it’s his turn and he is more than ready to be a member of the Hall of Fame.
“Jerome has put in the work and he is worthy of being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” said Dawson. “With his stats, he has put in the work to qualify.”
Bettis began his career with the Los Angeles Rams in 1993 but had his best days once he was traded to the Steelers on draft day in 1996. Bettis was the Steelers leading rusher from 1996-2001 and 2003-04, amassing 50 100-yard games with the team. He rushed for 10,571 yards with the Steelers, and 13,662 career yards.
Bettis’ first year of eligibility he was on the list with running backs Marshall Faulk and Curtis Martin. Faulk, who is 10th in NFL history with 12,279 rushing yards, was elected in 2011 and Martin, who ranks fourth with 14,101 yards, was inducted in 2012. Bettis is the only running back among the list of finalists this year.
“I think he should be in there this year,” said Dawson. “We would like for him to be in, but it’s up to the writers. Do I think he should be in there? Yes. There are guys in there he has more yards than and better stats to justify him being in there.”
Among the NFL’s top 10 all-time leading rushers only Bettis and LaDainian Tomlinson are not in the Hall of Fame, and Tomlinson, who retired in 2011, is not yet eligible.
The Class of 2013 will be announced on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013, the day before Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Dawson hopes to hear Bettis’ name announced.
“He was a feature back for 13 years in the league,” said Dawson. “What made him unusual being a larger than normal back, he was so agile and strong he could take the pounding and be the feature back all of that time. He was a phenomenal runner.
“He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame this year.”
Tags: Dermontti Dawson, Jerome Bettis
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Steelers Hall of Famers Jack Butler and Dermontti Dawson are receiving their Hall of Fame rings at halftime of today’s game, and both are excited to be doing so in front of the fans at Heinz Field.
“This way the fans feel like they are a part of it as well,” said Dawson. “You get to do it in front of the hometown fans, the fans who cheered you on your whole career. It’s great to be able to share that with the city of Pittsburgh.
“I know how the Pittsburgh fans are. They are dedicated to the players no matter what era you played in. It’s really special.”
Butler, who is from the Pittsburgh area, loves the warm welcome he receives from the Steelers faithful.
“When I was at the Hall of Fame it seemed like half of Western Pennsylvania was there,” said Butler. “I thought it was great. I love this city and I love Western Pennsylvania so to do this at Heinz Field is great. It’s very gratifying. It’s an honor and a real privilege.
“To receive the ring and all of that stuff is really something. When the crowd cheers and everything it’s great.”
It’s been two months since both players were inducted into the Hall of Fame as a part of the Class of 2012, and they admit it still hasn’t fully hit them yet.
“I don’t think it sunk in completely,” said Dawson. “Sometimes I think about it when people bring it up. I guess I did play the game at a certain level. It’s such an honor. I am still kind of in awe that I am in the Professional Football Hall of Fame. I don’t feel any different, though.”
Butler had to wait over 50 years for his selection and never thought his day would actually come.
“The Hall of Fame is something you think about and it’s always great, but you never really believed you would be there and a part of it,” said Butler. “It’s still hard to believe. I did what I loved to do. It was fun playing the game. I had a good time. To be selected for the Hall of Fame…I love it, I love it.”
Tags: Dermontti Dawson, Jack Butler
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Former Steelers center Dermontti Dawson selected his former high school coach to present him when he enters the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 4 in Canton, Ohio.
Steve Parker, who was Dawson’s coach at Bryan Station High School in Lexington, Kentucky, will do the honors after being the one to convince Dawson to play football in the first place.
“Coach Parker was influential in my life,” said Dawson. “I knew him before I played football. He is the one who convinced me to play football. I was walking through the hallway, coming out of biology class and he said, ‘Son, where have you been all my life?’ He got me to change my mind about playing football.
“I thought it was only fitting for him to present me.”
Tags: Dermontti Dawson, Pro Football Hall of Fame
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Saturday, January 7
The Steelers held a walk-thru on Saturday morning, before boarding a plane and heading to Denver to take on the Broncos on Sunday afternoon.
There was some good news for a few former Steelers on Saturday afternoon as Jerome Bettis, Dermontti Dawson, Kevin Greene and Jack Butler were all finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2012. There are 15 modern-era finalists and two senior members, including Butler.
The Class of 2012 will be announced on February 4 in Indianapolis.
Dawson learned of being a finalist when he received a text from former Steelers wide receiver Louis Lipps, which was then followed up by phone calls and other messages from friends.
“The way I approach it, if I am selected, then I am selected. If I am not, I’m not,” said Dawson, who has been down this road before as a finalist. “At least I am a finalist so I have another opportunity. I just take it one day at a time. That is it.”
Dawson, who played for the Steelers from 1988-2000, is considered one of the best to play the game but has the disadvantage of being at a position where he doesn’t have stats.
“I think that is part of it as well,” said Dawson. “That is a hard thing for offensive linemen. It’s supposed to be based on what you did as a player, what you contributed to the game. We are not stat guys, except for jumping offside or holding, those are the only stats we have. Everything is about stats and that makes it tougher for offensive linemen to get in there. You have only had a handful of centers to get in the Hall of Fame. The percentage is very low when it comes to offensive linemen.”
The perfect scenario for Dawson would be him and his former teammate Bettis going in the Hall together this year.
“That would be great,” said Dawson. “If both of us were elected…I don’t know if it’s happened before with two teammates but it would be great.
“Jerome is more than deserving to be elected. He was consistent throughout his career. Every year he was consistent. He wasn’t the typical running back. He wasn’t a super speedy guy. He got it done, came in every week and got it done. He was a load.”
Dawson continues to follow the Steelers and is looking forward to Sunday’s game against the Broncos.
“It’s going to be a good game,” said Dawson. “Overall I think it’s going to be a close game. I hope Ben’s (Roethlisberger) ankle is going to be good enough that he is going to be mobile. I think it’s going to be a competitive game.
“I think the key is going to be those guys trying to corral (Tim) Tebow and contain the running game.”
Steelers players relax for a minute before the start of the Saturday morning walk-thru – when things got down to business.
Steelers arrive in Denver
Tags: Dermontti Dawson, Hall of Fame, Jack Butler, Jerome Bettis, Kevin Greene, Steelers Playoff Diary
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