Bettis, Dawson HOF semi-finalists

The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced their 25 semifinalists for the Class of 2011 and among those on the list are former running back Jerome Bettis and center Dermontti Dawson.

Bettis (1996-2005) is a semi-finalist in his first year of eligibility, while Dawson, who played his entire career with the Steelers (1988-2000), has been a nominee in the past.

Bettis joined the Steelers via a draft day trade in 1996 and helped lead the team to their victory in Super Bowl XL, retiring shortly after the game ended in his hometown of Detroit, Michigan.

"I played with Jerome in Los Angeles, St. Louis and Pittsburgh," said former Steelers tackle Wayne Gandy." It will always be my honor to have played with him. He is one of those guys that gave his all to the game, played hard. You can always tell the great players because they motivate other guys to play harder. Jerome was one of those types of guys. We knew if we blocked and blocked hard he was going to get the extra yards and we would make each other look good. His personality is great. He was always appreciative of his line.

"He definitely deserves it. His style of running and to play that long and physical it would be good to see him go in. He helped bring Pittsburgh the first Super Bowl in 26 years. That cemented in my mind he is in. What kills me the most is Dermontti Dawson isn't in. I don't know why that isn't happening. Jerome deserves it as much as anyone ever has."

Dawson was drafted by the Steelers in the second round in 1988 from Kentucky. He played his entire 13-year career with the Steelers, taking over for Mike Webster at center in his second season and remaining a steady force at the position throughout his career.

"He set the bar for what a center should be and how a center should act on the field and off the field," said former offensive tackle John Jackson, who was a teammate of Dawson's for 10 seasons. "In general it's hard for offensive linemen, especially for a center to get in. But his credentials are definitely above everybody's and he definitely deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.

"He had such durability. Plus, Dermontti loves football. You can tell that just by talking to him. He was a competitive person. He didn't like to lose. He really enjoyed winning."

Linebacker Kevin Greene, who played a portion of his 13-year career in black and gold, also is a semi-finalist. Greene was with the Steelers from 1993-95.

Watch Steelers Speak with Jerome Bettis - Part 2 will be on this week with Bettis talking about being a Hall of Fame nominee.

Watch Video from Dawson's Career.

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