Bettis: 'I have never been happier'


They say good things come to those who wait, and for former Steelers running back Jerome Bettis that is definitely the case.

It took five years of being a finalist, but tonight, Jerome Bettis now and forever will be known as a Pro Football Hall of Famer.

"This was definitely worth the wait," said Bettis moments after the official announcement. "It's amazing to think about everything I have had to go through in this process, in my career, the ups and downs and then to win a championship.

"All of those things were incredible, but this moment is surreal. To have this honor bestowed upon you is amazing."

Bettis, a member of the Hall of Fame Class of 2015, is grateful to all of those who helped him get there.

"I am just grateful the writers found my career worthy of the Hall of Fame," said Bettis. "It's so incredible. I am so thankful to the Rooney family, the Steelers organization, the fans who have been incredible ever since the trade was made for me to come here. They have been incredible.

"And of course, my teammates. None of this is possible without my teammates. Those guys who didn't get the notoriety, the attention, they deserve it. They deserve to be a part of the success I achieved."

Bettis was emotional about his selection, especially when talking about his parents, including his mother Gladys Bettis who is battling cancer and his late father Johnnie Bettis Jr.

"I am so happy to celebrate this with my mother, who is having a battle of her own with breast cancer," said Bettis. "For her to take that journey with me, now I can repay her by taking the journey with her. This is a special moment we can share together and think of my dad because he was so instrumental in my life. It's a special moment.

"This means so much. My family has been so close. We have done everything together. This is part of their journey as well. We all got there."

Bettis mother couldn't be in Phoenix with him having undergone her final chemotherapy treatment this past week, but her heart was with him and she was thrilled to hear the news.

"I am just elated," said Gladys Bettis. "We had hoped last year, or the year before, but it doesn't matter. It's here. We are thrilled. I am so happy. When I talked to him he said 'I wish Dad was here.' I told him don't worry Jerome. I am holding it down for your Dad.

"This is better than any medicine. This is the icing on my cake. I wanted to be there in Phoenix for him, but I knew with my last treatment on Tuesday I wouldn't be able to go anywhere. I wanted to be there. But that's alright. I am so good right now. The Bus is headed to Canton. Isn't that incredible? I can't wait."

Bettis waited five years for the knock on the hotel room door that he had been waiting for, the time when he finally heard, congratulations, you made it. You are a Hall of Famer.

"It was an amazing moment," said Bettis. "I got an opportunity to really hear it. When they knocked on that door, it was an awe inspiring moment. It was really happening. It was amazing.

"I have never been happier a day in my life. This is amazing."

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