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Jerome Bettis makes case for Hines Ward to eventually be inducted into the Hall of Fame

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On a panel including other members of the 2015 Hall of Fame class, Jerome Bettis made his case for why Hines Ward should be inducted in Canton when he is eligible.

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

The Bus wants Mighty Mouse with him in the Hall of Fame.

Speaking on a panel with other members of the 2015 Hall of Fame class on NFL Network, Jerome Bettis said that Hines Ward was the best player he played with during his 13-year career. Bettis then went on to make Ward's case for Hall of Fame induction.

Ward's career numbers and accomplishments make a strong case for his place in Canton. He tallied 1,000 catches for over 12,000 receiving yards with 85 touchdowns over 14 seasons, all with the Steelers. In 18 career playoff games, Ward pulled down 88 catches for nearly 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was at his best during the 2005 playoff run, snaring in 15 passes for 260 yards (a 17.3 yards per catch average) with three touchdowns as Pittsburgh became the first sixth seed to reach the Super Bowl. Ward's finest moment was Super Bowl XL, where he earned game MVP honors by pulling down five catches for 123 yards that included the game-clinching touchdown reception.

Beyond stats, Bettis said that the most remarkable thing about Ward was how he was able to achieve so much success despite not being blessed with as many of the natural physical tools that many of his peers possessed. Not the fastest or tallest receiver, Bettis attributed Ward's desire to be great along with his work ethic as the reasons why Ward enjoyed such a sterling career.

Ward's first year of eligibility is in 2017, and whether he is a first ballot Hall of Famer is anything but certain; however, words from Bettis and other players will certainly help bolster his chances of being enshrined forever in Canton, OH.