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Former Steelers running back Jerome Bettis is one of 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2015. The Hall of Fame voters will hold their selection meeting on Saturday, January 31, and the Class of 2015 will be announced that night during the NFL Honors Show (NBC, 9 pm ET).Running back Jerome Bettis is a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2015, and there are plenty who believe the NFL's sixth all-time rusher should be inducted this year.
Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris:
"Why he isn't in there, I have no clue. He should undoubtedly be in the Hall of Fame. My feeling is he should be in there already. Should he be in there this year? Absolutely. You are talking about a great football player. I am hoping that he will be able to join me in the Hall of Fame this year.
"He was a bruiser. Wow, could he pound that football. He pounded and pounded. He was a great competitor, a great team player. He contributed greatly to those teams. He was one of the main reasons that those teams were successful and accomplished what they did.
"He went on to put up numbers that were incredible. It was fun to watch him pound and see what he did. We were completely different runners in our styles, but I loved to watch the way he ran. He was so effective."
Hall of Fame center Dermontti Dawson:
"Jerome has put in the work and he is worthy of being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. With his stats, he has put in the work to qualify. He was a feature back for 13 years in the league. 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."
Former Steelers Coach and analyst for CBS' NFL Today Bill Cowher:
"I think it's 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. There is not a stat that you can produce that doesn't back that up.
"I have never seen a power back that was as light on their feet as he was. 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.
"The great thing about Jerome was you rarely saw him take a hit. 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."
Former Steelers and Bears running back and ESPN analyst Merril Hoge:
"He had tremendous feet. 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.
"Jerome did it at a high level for a long time, in a physical nature which is rare. 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 (former 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."