Steelers’ wide receiver Antonio Brown and former running back Jerome Bettis are both in the running for the Madden NFL 25 box cover.
In celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the “Madden” video game, the cover has 32 current players going against 32 legends of the game, with all teams represented.
In the first round Bettis is up against former New York Jets running back Curtis Martin, while Brown goes against New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Voting is now open at Madden NFL 25.
Tags: Antonio Brown, Jerome Bettis, NFL Madden 25
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“Jerome was a linebacker that played running back,” said Porter, talking this week from his home in California. “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.”
Porter remembers the days during training camp at St. Vincent College when he had to try and bring Bettis down. Porter, who has never shied away from talking smack on the field, was often left without anything to say after going against Bettis.
“There were times I went against him in practice and he got the best of me,” said Porter. “I couldn’t say anything. I would just walk back to the huddle. I couldn’t feel my shoulders. But I tried to never let him see that. I would always play the next play so he didn’t know he hurt me. I would not go out of practice. I always forced myself to play one more play to make it look like I went down because of something else, but most of the time it was because I got hit by him and my shoulders were hurting.
“It got worse and worse as his career went on because he got bigger. That was Bus though. He was going to run hard, he was a low to the ground guy. He was going to bring it every single time. He was thick. He wasn’t a running back you wanted to tackle every day.”
It was those days, especially early in Porter’s career that helped mold him into the player he became. He said he learned so much from Bettis and that going against him made him gave him the confidence he needed.
“He groomed me,” said Porter. “When I was on scout team my biggest challenge was going against Jerome in practice and being able to know where he was going, go against him in one-on-ones and attempt to hit him in practice. It helped let me know if I was ready. If I got the respect out of him, then I was all right. He gave me that early in my career. We developed a lifetime relationship and I had to earn that. He gave me all of the confidence I had in practice.
“I was going against a future Hall of Famer and I knew that my rookie year.”
It things go the way Porter sees fit, then Hall of Famer will be a description soon attached to Bettis and by far, the most accurate and deserving one. Bettis is a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2013, which is set to be announced this Saturday in New Orleans, and Porter is still stunned he hasn’t gotten in the previous two years he was a finalist.
“There are other big running backs that played the game, but not like he did, not with the level of success he had for 13 seasons, being the man for that long at a high level,” said Porter. “He was a power back. A lot of guys claim to be a power back, but he was one. He earned every yard he has. He ran hard. He caught the ball. He scored touchdowns. He won the Super Bowl. He was a first round pick.
“He did all you could do. He should have been in there the first time out.”
Tags: Hall of Fame, Jerome Bettis, Joey Porter
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“I remember meeting up with him one time and I gave him a hug and I was like ‘Oh my gosh,’” said Hoge, who played for the Steelers from 1987-93 and is now an NFL analyst for ESPN. “To get your arms around this dude was not easy. And him running with a full head of steam…oh my gosh what a defender had to deal with. He was a unique beast. To get your arms around him would be a large task and with a full head of steam, it would be so much harder.
“I feel bad for the defenders. You have to be a big man to take him on and win and get back up and talk about it. To wrap up on him, wow. His quickness and size made it tough. People couldn’t get their arms around him. You can’t wrap him up. You had to get around his legs. If you dealt with his shoulder area, you could forget it.”
While Hoge never had to worry about trying to stop Bettis, former Steelers’ linebacker Jerry Olsavsky was faced with that task at times in practice. And he can tell you, it wasn’t easy.
“When you are six inches away from the guy and you say I got him and you don’t hit him, you wonder how did that happen,” said Olsavsky, now a defensive assistant with the team. “People talk about how he was a good bowler and I think that helped him because his feet were so good.
“I loved him because he had two options, he could beat you outside or he could run you over. I remember him playing here in the first Monday Night game he ever played in. He wasn’t starting for us and we rolled him out and it was like the brand new Corvette comes out with the big rammer on the front. He made a couple of guys miss and he gave the shake and ran them over. I liked watching that as a defensive player. He was good. He made you better.”
Hoge never played with Bettis, his career ending prior to Bettis arriving in Pittsburgh. But he played against Bettis’ Los Angeles Rams team in 1993, watching the rookie running back rush for a 29-yard touchdown in his second NFL game in a 27-0 Rams win. He also watched Bettis as his career developed, particularly during his Steelers’ years, and has always marveled at what he could do.
“He had tremendous feet,” said Hoge. “His lateral movement was great for any size. He could play between the tackles, which in the NFL is the majority of where you play. The combination of his size, power and quickness allowed him to be extremely unique and rare.”
While Hoge loved what Bettis did on the field, he also has the utmost respect for him off the field. Just like anyone who has met Bettis, Hoge glowingly talks about the type of person he is and the type of leader he was for the team, particularly being the driving force behind the team’s run to becoming Super Bowl XL champions.
“Jerome wasn’t much of a talker,” said Hoge. “You can talk all of you want, but you can’t pronounce leadership. People will be motivated maybe for a moment by words, but they are sustained by action, how a person prepared, the things he did. Those are the things that I am sure resonated with that team. All of the things that he had done, that people witnessed him doing to get ready every Sunday is what was impactful to them and what meant the most. If someone was a phony and just got up and gave a speech, players aren’t fools. They think whatever.
“Players respected Jerome. He set that standard. He didn’t have to say anything, people watching him and witnessing him, that inspired them.”
Hoge hopes now that the Pro Football Hall of Fame voters are equally inspired and they will give Bettis his just due when the Class of 2013 is announced this Saturday in New Orleans.
“Jerome did it at a high level for a long time in a physical nature which is rare,” said Hoge. “That style fades fast, but he didn’t. His brutal and punishing style of running, guys like that usually only play seven or eight years. That stands out as a unique and rare quality he had. And some of his most signature runs came in his last years. Running over guys is one thing, but when you run over a guy like (Bears linebacker) Brian Urlacher, that’s another story.
“His style, how he did it, and how long he did it are the things that stand out the most. He was as rare as they come.”
Tags: Hall of Fame, Jerome Bettis, Jerry Olsavsky, Merril Hoge
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In his first training camp with the Steelers, Jerome Bettis knew right away he was in an offense where he could flourish. The Steelers and Coach Bill Cowher loved the power running game and Bettis’ eyes lit up every day in practice when he saw the potential that existed.
“I know what a back would be capable of doing in an offense like this,” said Bettis in August, 1996, just months after being traded to the Steelers from the St. Louis Rams on draft day and before he ever stepped foot on the field in the black and gold.
He wasted no time making good on those words. In his first season in Pittsburgh Bettis led the Steelers in rushing with 1,431 yards on 320 carries and 11 touchdowns while winning the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award.
Out of the gate Bettis appeared to be just a classic big back, but beneath the surface he was far more. For a player of his size and style, he was fleet of foot and had the agility running backs covet.
“I have never seen a power back that was as light on their feet as he was,” said Cowher. “He would make jump cuts in the hole and his shoulders were never anything but parallel to the line of scrimmage. He could see things and get there on his feet. He had the lightest feet for a big back I have ever seen playing the game.”
Bettis managed to use those light feet to rush for 10,571 yards with the Steelers, bringing his 13 year career total to 13,662, which ranks sixth overall in NFL history. He had eight 1,000 yard seasons in his career, leading the Rams in rushing all three of his seasons there and the Steelers in rushing eight times. In a day and age when a bruising back doesn’t last long, he was able to sustain a successful 13-year career because of the way he played the game, delivering the pounding more often than taking it.
“The great thing about Jerome was you rarely saw him take a hit,” said Cowher. “He was always the one who initiated the hit. He had a great sense of balance, a great sense of forward lean. Most of the time he was the one that was able to initiate hits. There were times in the fourth quarter when all he had to do was make a little snip step and he could make people miss because they had to brace for him. I have never seen a guy who could make people miss in a hole better than him. He could go sideways when he needed to. But the biggest thing he had was his sense of balance and his forward lean.”
Cowher will be among those keeping a close eye on what happens in New Orleans this Saturday, when the Hall of Fame voters will decide if this is finally Bettis’ turn. He has been a finalist each of the three years he has been eligible, and Cowher thinks it’s his time and that Bettis should be a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2013.
“I think it’s three years overdue so it would be a travesty if he doesn’t get in because he is one of the great running backs that has played in the National Football League,” said Cowher. “There is not a stat that you can produce that doesn’t back that up.”
But Cowher thinks there are reasons far beyond the impressive numbers that should land Bettis on the steps of the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio late this summer. While Bettis put up the numbers of a superstar, he never had the attitude of one. He was a blue-collar worker, a team-first guy all the way.
“If I had 53 guys like him I could coach for 30 years,” said Cowher. “He was a joy to be around. He was the voice of the team. He set the tone. When your leader is one of your best workers, and he was that, it makes coaching easy. He was very dependable, reliable and obviously very productive. The way he led, he was a worker on the field. He had very natural leadership abilities and it was infectious on the field. He was a mentor when he needed to be, he inspired when he needed to.”
Never was that inspiration more noticeable than during the Steelers run in the 2005 season, which culminated in winning Super Bowl XL. Bettis’ teammates knew it was going to be his last year playing, and they wanted nothing more than to win the Super Bowl in his hometown of Detroit, Michigan, allowing him to go out on top.
Bettis wasn’t a starter that year, instead giving way to a younger, speedier Willie Parker, but he accepted his role of coming in and getting the short yardage, scoring when they had the ball close to the goal line, and thriving in the role. And despite all of the other talent on offense, he was still the identity the identity of it.
“It made it very easy as a coach to ask people to accept roles when you had one of the greatest running backs to play the game do the same,” said Cowher. “Jerome Bettis was taking the back seat and playing a specific role. How he led by example, the way he accepted his position on the team, was who he was. I have never been a part of a team where one of your biggest leaders didn’t start and that was the case with Jerome that particular year. He was our finisher, our closer. It was a role not only he embraced, but our team embraced. He became an inspiring presence on our team. We all wanted him to finish his career on top. When you saw his humility, the sacrifices he made at times in his role, sacrifices he made to make sure he would stay with the Steelers. This guy’s middle name was team. He was a team player who played at a high level, but did what he had to do as his career went on. It’s so refreshing in today’s game to see a guy put his own self interest on the back burner for what’s in the best interest of the team.
“His teammates not only recognized that, but appreciated it. The drive we had to win that championship was inspired by Jerome Bettis.”
And now Cowher feels the same as all of those that were a part of the Super Bowl XL team, all who played with Bettis during his career, and a lot that played against him. They feel like Jerome Bettis should be in the Hall of Fame.
“I have never seen a big man, a power back who can run light on his feet like this guy,” said Cowher. “He was special, he was durable, he was dependable, and he was selfless.
“When you look at today’s game you look at great players, and great players do it over a period of time. He did that. Great players have a way of inspiring those around him. He did that. Great players produce numbers that put them in the elite. He did that. How can you ask any player to do more than that?”
Tags: Bill Cowher, Jerome Bettis
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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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The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced their 27 semifinalists for the Class of 2013, and among them are two former Pittsburgh Steelers, running back Jerome Bettis and linebacker Kevin Greene. Bettis was a finalist the last two years and Greene was a finalist last year.
“It’s always an honor whenever you can reach the semifinalist list,” said Bettis. “It’s never a thing where you assume it’s going to happen. Nothing is promised to you. It’s always refreshing and new. I am just excited and I will go from there. I am not overly excited because I understand the process, but there is reason for excitement.”
Normally there are only 25 semifinalists, but there are 27 this year because of a three-way tie.
That list will be narrowed down to 15 modern-era finalists in early January.
The Class of 2013 will be announced on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013, the day before Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Tags: Jerome Bettis, Kevin Greene
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Former Steelers running back Jerome Bettis was on the Mike & Mike Show on ESPN Radio on Tuesday and said he can relate to what Baltimore Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff is going through, even though his fate with playoff infamy turned out better.
Bettis fumbled on the Colts two-yard line with 1:20 remaining in AFC Divisional Playoffs against Indianapolis during the 2005 season, and the Colts Nick Harper recovered. But he was bailed out by the defense that held the Colts, and then Mike Vanderjagt missed a 46-yard field goal that would have tied the game. The Steelers eventually went on to win Super Bowl XL.
“I was there. I had a fumble go up in the air,” said Bettis. “I was there. For a brief moment in time, I was the goat. I know what it felt like. It’s the most demoralizing feeling in the world. You feel like you are all alone. You think everyone is looking at you; nobody wants to be around you. I was on my knee and there was nobody within 10 feet. I understand; I get it. It’s a devastating feeling for those guys. It was important to see Ray Lewis step up and say we lose as a team, we win as a team.”
Tags: Jerome Bettis, Super Bowl XL
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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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Former Steelers running back Jerome Bettis signed autographs and read to children at Panera Bread at the Waterfront and Penn Center on Saturday while at the same time giving back to the community. Bettis collected books for the Jerome Bettis the Bus Stops Here Foundation which will be donated to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh at UMPC.
“It’s our way of giving back,” said Bettis. “In the Christmas spirit the key is putting smiles on kids’ faces. I love giving back to the community that has given so much to me.
“It’s great to see that people still appreciate what I have done and what I stand for. That means a lot.”
Tags: Jerome Bettis, Jerome Bettis The Bus Stops Here Foundation
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Jerome Bettis is among those that feel the Steelers need quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to play on Monday night to defeat the San Francisco 49ers.
“This is the type of football team that they live and die with Ben Roethlisberger,” said Bettis. “He is the engine in that car. If you don’t have Ben, this offense is built around a high-powered passing game, and you don’t have that.”
Bettis, who was at the Steelers-Browns game, said he wasn’t surprised to see Roethlisberger come back in the game in the second half.
“I knew he was going to come back out there,” said Bettis. “He is one of those players that when he is hurt, sometimes he plays at his best. I expected to see him out there. Anything short of being broke I figured he was going to be out there playing.”
Tags: Ben Roethli, Jerome Bettis
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