LeBeau, Bettis and Thomas to be honored

Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau and former running back Jerome Bettis will be inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame this fall and former defensive back J.T. Thomas will be inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame this weekend.

LeBeau played for the Detroit Lions for 14 seasons from 1959-72 and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010.

LeBeau played in 171 consecutive games with the Lions, an NFL record for a cornerback, and had 62 interceptions. He played in three Pro Bowls and in 1970 led the NFC with nine interceptions.

Bettis is a Detroit native who finished his NFL career in style, winning Super Bowl XL in Detroit and then retiring. Bettis, who was among the finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year, rushed for 13,662 yards in his NFL career.

The other inductees include former Michigan State and Giants linebacker Carl Banks, former Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr, Michigan softball coach Carol Hutchins, runner Greg Meyer, softball player John Spring and St. Martin De Porres football coach Ron Thompson.

The induction ceremony will take place in September.

Thomas, a Georgia native who played for the Steelers from 1973-81 when they won four Super Bowls, will be honored on Saturday, Feb. 26 at the induction ceremonies at the Macon City Auditorium.

"I will have come full circle," said Thomas of returning to Macon. "I learned my core values in Macon, and it will be great to reflect back on my many great experiences there."

Thomas finished his Steelers career with 20 interceptions and was a Pro Bowl selection in 1976. He still lives in Pittsburgh and is remains active in Steelers alumni events.

"It's like a perpetual scholarship in Pittsburgh. Our era in the 70's is the cornerstone of the organization today and is as popular now as back then. Most of the players from those championship teams still live in Pittsburgh and are very well known in the community. During the recent Super Bowl, former players held parties for fans to watch the game and many in attendance weren't even born when we played."

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