The Steelers aren't a team that makes a lot of trades involving players. It's probably more accurate to say the Steelers are a team that rarely makes a trade involving players, especially in modern day history.
But when they do, they make it count.
On April 20, 1996, 18 years ago today during the NFL Draft, they pulled off one of the best trades in NFL history, acquiring Jerome Bettis from the St. Louis Rams, along with a third-round pick, for the Steelers second-round pick in 1996 and fourth-round selection in 1997. The Rams had just drafted running back Lawrence Phillips, who spent only two seasons with them, in the first round and felt Bettis was expendable.
The rest as they say, is history.
"I got a chance to talk to Coach (Bill) Cowher," recalled Bettis of when the trade was made. "My rookie year the Steelers came to Los Angeles and we beat up on them pretty good and I had a great day running the ball. The first thing he said to me on the phone was 'We just traded for you. If you can't beat em, join em. I remember you beat up on us your rookie year and I'm glad to have you.' It was great to hear and to be going somewhere they wanted me. That worked out pretty well."
That it did. Bettis rushed for 10,571 yards with the Steelers, and amassed 13,662 career yards, which ranks him sixth overall in NFL history.
He will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 8 as a member of the Class of 2015.
Not a bad trade at all.
Take a look at former Steelers running back Jerome Bettis during one of his most memorable performances.