Bettis: 'It's a moment you live for'


When Jerome Bettis stood on the stage, in front of the Heinz Field faithful and his loving family, there was one thing he wanted to say.

Thank you.

Former Steelers running back Jerome Bettis was presented with his Hall of Fame ring at Halftime during the Steelers' Week 4 game against the Baltimore Ravens.

"That was special, that was special because I got a chance to be in front of our crowd," said Bettis. "I got a chance to thank the people here in Pittsburgh, and to thank them right in front of them. These are the people who have supported me, who have cheered for me. Since the first day I came here and put on my Steelers uniform, I was taken in by the city, fan base, and that love affair hasn't stopped yet. To hear them cheering, to hear the reaction from them. I knew it was going to be special, but wow.

"It was incredible. It a moment you live for. It was really special."

Bettis was talking about being honored at halftime of the Steelers-Ravens game, receiving his Hall of Fame ring. Wearing his Gold Jacket, and his Hall of Fame bust in front of him, the ring was the final symbol of what he accomplished in his amazing career.

"The Hall of Fame ring signifies that my promise to myself came true, that every time I stepped out on to the football field I want to try to be the best player on the field," said Bettis. "That is the way I approach the game. So now the acknowledgement of that is the Hall of Fame ring."

Bettis received the ring from Bill Cowher, his former coach and the man who brought him to Pittsburgh and helped put his career on the Hall of Fame path. Cowher wasn't able to be in Canton in August because his daughter was married in Ireland the same day as the enshrinement ceremony, and Bettis was happy he got a chance to thank him as well.

"It meant a lot to me that he presented the ring," said Bettis. "Bill wasn't able to make it to the Hall of Fame in Canton. I wanted to acknowledge him and let him know how important he was and thank him. It was great for him to be the one giving me the ring.

"My relationship with him has always been great. When I was a player, it was incredible because I was the liaison between the players and the coaches. He confided in me. If he needed something from the team, he came to me. I made it happen. Conversely if the players need something, they came to me. Then I went and talked to coach. We had an incredible player-coach relationship. Now our relationship is different. Obviously it's not a player-coach relationship, but it's still somewhat of a player-coach relationship. Out of respect, he's always going to be my coach. We have a great friendship in that we're able to talk outside of football and of life and raising kids. He's giving me great advice."

After the ceremony, cradling the ring in his hand as he looked at every detail of it, he was truly humbled by the congratulations and love he received from everyone. Coach Mike Tomlin, Ben Roethlisberger, Hall of Famers Mel Blount and Deion Sanders, actor Joe Manganiello, and even baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson, were all showing their appreciation for what he's done.

All Bettis could do was smile. And then smile some more.

"It's was just awesome," said Bettis. "It's been magical since the day I came to Pittsburgh. Everyone has been 100 percent behind me. It's just been an incredible ride. It's been a magical bus ride the whole way."

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