Former Steelers running back Jerome Bettis will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, Aug. 8 in Canton, Ohio as a member of the Class of 2015. Hall of Fame wide receiver Lynn Swann on Jerome Bettis shared his thoughts on Bettis and his upcoming enshrinement.
What made Jerome Bettis a special running back?**
"What makes everyone who is in the Hall of Fame special is their accomplishment, it's what you do. Getting into the Hall of Fame is not talking about having a good game. It's executing a good game. Getting into the Hall of Fame isn't about your potential, it's about what you provide and give that is different or unique at the high level of consistency. That is what Jerome brought to the game.
"While Jerome was a Steeler we were making things happen. Jerome was at the top of his game, having an impact, people on defense had to worry about Jerome Bettis carrying the ball, his power, strength, getting to a hole quickly and skirting to the outside. That is what made him a great player and worthy of the Hall of Fame."
What was it like for you watching Jerome play?
"When you watched Jerome play, you always knew that tough one yard would be there. That Jerome wasn't afraid to lower his arm and take a guy on. Smart player, yes. Fierce competitor, absolutely. Those things make Jerome a Hall of Famer."
Is there a tight bond among the Steelers Hall of Famers, and is he now a part of that?
"All of us have a strong bond. We appreciate the years we spent playing for the Steelers. We appreciate the ownership and their commitment to the city. We appreciate the fans that we have. Just tremendous fans, not just here in Pittsburgh but as we are fond of saying we are truly a nation of fans, a Steelers nation. Once a player goes into the Hall of Fame, there is almost an expectation that great players from this team will be in the Hall of Fame. We look forward to the day we welcome Jerome Bettis to Canton. We have an expectation that they play that kind of football in Pittsburgh."
Photos from the career of former Steelers running back and Hall of Fame finalist Jerome Bettis.
Is it a sense of pride to have another Steelers player inducted?**
"I think it's pride in the organization. Pride that the players look at what is established in Pittsburgh by the players before and they have a desire to play up to that level. To be that kind of player. To be good enough in today's game to be compared to the players who are in the Hall of Fame from the Pittsburgh Steelers."
What's the best advice you can give Jerome as he prepares for his Hall of Fame induction?
"Enjoy the moment with family and friends and relax. It's like a wedding. Hopefully there is someone there to take lots of pictures because you will have to look at the pictures to remember everything that was going on. You are inundated with things.
"The other thing is write your speech. It gets very emotional. Have some notes so if it gets emotional, he is about to cry, he has those notes so he can keep going."