Former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher has a soft spot for Jerome Bettis. After all, he was the one who brought Bettis in from the Rams to be the bell cow for the Steelers for almost his entire coaching career in Pittsburgh. There also has to be a sense of pride surrounding Cowher as he will watch his prized pupil become enshrined into the Hall of Fame this summer.
"I am just happy for him," Cowher told Teresa Varley of Steelers.com. "You look at what he has done over a period of time, how great he was. He was meant to be in the Hall of Fame for what he has done and how he did it. He deserves to be in there."
Bettis was a tremendous player, but also a tremendous leader and player, always willing to do whatever the team needed of him to win football games.
"There has never been a more selfless person. It was never about Jerome, it was always about the team. When you see a guy who is selfless, dependable and tough, with the consistency he brought every week, the amount of emotion he brought to the game, the professionalism and fun he brought to the game. He was a joy to be around. There was a time to work and a time to play. It was great to have a guy like him in the locker room.
"He is everything you would want. He accepted any role, he gave you everything he had, he worked at it, and he carried himself like a professional. He was a great leader, a great worker, and had a presence about him. He was a great role model for every young person in this league. He is a Hall of Fame running back and a Hall of Fame person. He handled himself with class and dignity. Jerome Bettis was a consummate pro and great football player. Ask anybody who tried to tackle him."
Those who dared to try and bring down the massive Bettis, few lived to remember the event to be able to even tell the tale. However, for those who never saw 'The Bus' in his prime might not realize just how talented he was as a running back. He didn't just run people over, for his size, his quick feet and agility were unmatched.
"For a big man I don't think there was a back that had better feet," said Cowher. "His ability to jump cut in a hole, his ability to throw a great body lean. Just everything he did. He was able to do it consistently year in and year out. He was so durable. He was there every Sunday."
This Summer, Cowher will get to watch Bettis join the greatest team of all-time as his bust will live forever in the hall of fame in Canton, OH, and no one could be prouder of No. 36. I think I speak for all Steelers fans when I say, hopefully one day Cowher's bust will accompany Bettis'.