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Bettis understands what Favre's going through

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by bavpb, Jan 31, 2006.

  1. bavpb

    bavpb Cheesehead

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    This I found on jsonline! ( link )

    Detroit - Maybe Brett Favre should talk to Jerome Bettis before he starts making retirement plans.

    Steelers running back Jerome Bettis contemplated retiring last season. Bettis, however, chose to return and is now preparing to play in Super Bowl XL.

    Imagine if Bettis, the grand old man of the youthful Pittsburgh Steelers, had given in to the off-season languor that strikes aging football warriors. He certainly wouldn't be sitting at a podium holding court with 100 or so reporters there to chronicle his return home for Super Bowl XL.

    Just a year ago, Bettis faced the same excruciating uncertainty now facing Favre, wondering whether his mind was capable of guiding his body through another year of football. After the Steelers lost to New England in the AFC Championship Game, Bettis was pretty sure he didn't have what it took to play a 13th season and even went so far as addressing his teammates - just as Favre did - before heading home.

    "I really thought that last year was probably the end of the road," Bettis said.

    Once his body healed, Bettis started to reconsider his retirement plans. The chance to play Super Bowl XL in his hometown was a motivating factor in returning, but not at all the biggest one. More than anything, he knew he still had something to give to the game.

    Even if he hadn't made it to his first Super Bowl, Bettis said he would have regretted not coming back to play this season.

    "I still had football in me," said Bettis, who turns 34 on Feb. 16. "If I walked away it would have been the biggest mistake of my life. Not to mention I would have missed this, but really because football is still in me."

    Aware of the comments that Favre made Sunday to ESPN in which he described uncertainty over whether he could mentally commit to another season, Bettis understood where the Green Bay quarterback was coming from. He faced the same uncertainty last year and wasn't sure he could commit to a full season let alone to preparing his body for that campaign during the off-season.

    "You can't go out there and not be committed to it," Bettis said. "I think that is what he's struggling with right now, his commitment to next year.

    "The question is, in his quiet moments, when he has to get up and go work out, is it still there? Does he want to get up, does he want to do that, does he want to make that type of commitment? That's a tough one to answer. I think when you stop getting up, you've answered it without even having to say it."

    The answer for Bettis was that despite the pounding 3,512 regular- and post-season carries had administered on his 5-foot-11, 255-pound frame, he kept getting up. And every time he did, his body felt a little better and his mind a little fresher.

    He knew once he made the decision to retire there would be no coming back, so he met with Steelers coach Bill Cowher, hammered out a role that he could physically handle and followed his heart. Bettis was so willing to play that he took a major pay cut for a second consecutive year, this time from $4.484 million to $1.5 million.

    The payoff hasn't come in incentives or bonuses.

    It came instead when he boarded the buses Monday morning in Pittsburgh and roughly half his teammates were wearing throwback Notre Dame jerseys with Bettis' No. 6 on them. And then it came again on the way to the team hotel when Motor City revelers honked their horns in appreciation of the hometown hero.

    As Bettis passed the neighborhood where he ran between the tackles against his childhood buddies, he couldn't help feeling all the aches and pains were worth it. He had toiled for 13 years with two teams in three cities just to get where so many others had been before him.

    After 13,662 rushing yards and 91 rushing touchdowns, it was his turn.

    "I want it as bad as ever," Bettis said of a victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday at Ford Field. "Not just because it's in Detroit. I want this championship because that's what you play the game for.

    "If I could sum it up, it would be my career in 60 minutes."

    And what better place to do it than the city Bettis grew up in, first gravitating to bowling and then taking his game outside where he played football alongside former Packer Gilbert Brown at McKenzie High School. Bettis' parents, Gladys and Johnnie, raised him and his brother and sister right, making sure their grades were in order before anything else.

    As for his hometown, Bettis is involved in a development project aimed at bringing jobs to the metro area. His hope is that the Super Bowl will be a catalyst for more than just a Pittsburgh victory.

    "It all started here and that's why it is a special place in my heart always," Bettis said.

    Heading into Super Bowl XL, Bettis is a far different player from the man he was during his 20s. He broke the 1,000-yard mark in eight of his first nine seasons - three with Los Angeles / St. Louis - and became the beacon for the new breed of big backs.

    Bettis found new life when the Rams traded him to Pittsburgh after the 1995 season. He proceeded to run off six straight 1,000-yard seasons.

    Though he hasn't rushed for 1,000 yards since the '01 season, Bettis has been a significant part of Pittsburgh's running game. He was being phased out last season, but had to assume a starting role when Duce Staley got hurt and rushed for 941 yards and 13 touchdowns.

    This season, he played a secondary role to Willie Parker (1,202 yards) but still made an impact in short-yardage and reserve roles. He rushed 110 times for 368 yards and nine touchdowns, scoring roughly once every 12 times he carried the ball.

    In a critical game against Chicago on Dec. 11 after three straight losses, Bettis carried 17 times for 101 yards and two touchdowns in a 21-9 victory at Heinz Field. In the playoffs he has carried 14 times per game and scored a touchdown in all three victories.

    Bettis described his dream game Sunday as three touchdowns all from 5 yards out en route to a Steelers victory. His teammates would love to see it, but even if he doesn't score, his value to the team will long have been established through his exalted status.

    "What Jerome means to everybody in that locker room is something special and I think what he means to the organization is something special," guard Alan Faneca said. "If anybody in this organization, team or locker room deserves it, he does because of what he means to us and what he has maintained as the identity of this organization for so long."


    I think, Brett also got a lot of football in him.
    This is your bravery- test, Brett!
     
  2. Aceschnd

    Aceschnd Cheesehead

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    "I still had football in me," said Bettis, who turns 34 on Feb. 16. "If I walked away it would have been the biggest mistake of my life. Not to mention I would have missed this, but really because football is still in me."

    I can't wait to hear this quote coming out of Favre next year during the week he has off before the Super Bowl.
     
  3. calicheesehead

    calicheesehead Cheesehead

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    I think Favre would come back if he only had to play 12 plays a game.. Big difference. I love Bettis's attitude but its apples and oranges. Shoot, the Bus isn't even listed as a starter!
     
  4. DePack

    DePack Cheesehead

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    Of course he understands. He is a hall of fame professional football player, not some wannabe GM posting on a forum. Get a clue guys.
     

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