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Thread: Former Steeler Bettis criticizes, confesses in new book, Part 2

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  1. #1
    Captcoolhand's Avatar
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    Former Steeler Bettis criticizes, confesses in new book, Part 2

    Jerome Bettis probably wasn't the best player to ever wear a Steelers' uniform, but he may have been the most honest, and his new autobiography doesn't pull any punches.
    In "The Bus: My Life in and Out of a Helmet," written with Gene Wojciechowski, Bettis relates his career with the Steelers in blunt terms.
    He is particularly frank when it comes to his former coach, Bill Cowher. Bettis writes that he and Cowher had disagreements over the years, and that he was especially miffed in 2003 when he wasn't give a fair chance at winning the starting halfback job that went to Amos Zereoue.
    Bettis writes: "I showed up at camp thinking it was going to be an open competition, but in reality, the choice had already been made. ... When Coach made the decision, he said it was based on a gut feeling. A gut feeling? I had something to prove. But it's hard to prove something if you're not given a fair shake."
    Bettis, however, writes that most disagreements were "few and far between. I didn't always agree with his decisions or methods, but I never doubted his ability as a coach or as a leader."
    A representative for Octagon, an agency in McLean, Va., that represents Cowher, said the former Steelers coach had no comment on the book. Bettis did not return phone calls Tuesday seeking comment about his accusations.
    In the book, Bettis does admit he pulled off his own version of the Statue of Liberty play prior to the 2000 season. In 1999, Bettis damaged the cartilage in his knee during the season. The knee was not close to 100 percent, but he played through the injury.
    When training camp started in 2000, his knee ached. Because he feared he would be cut if he came into camp with an injury, he had to "figure out a way I could get off my feet, get some rest, and do it without losing my job."
    During a short-yardage situation in training camp, Bettis took some contact and "bang, went down in a heap. I sort of yelled out, grabbed my knee, and waited for the training staff. Man, did I do a nice job of acting."
    Bettis said he wasn't faking the injury, just faking when he got it. "Otherwise, the Steelers would have had their reason to cut me and my salary."
    Bettis had the cartilage cleaned up and went on to rush for 1,341 yards and eight touchdowns in 2000.
    Cornerback Deshea Townsend, who has been with the Steelers since 1998, doesn't remember Bettis being injured that camp, but he understands why Bettis would concoct such a ruse.
    "You get to a certain point, it could go through the mind of a player. I could see that," Townsend said yesterday. "Everybody can be caught by the Grim Reaper. Nobody is invincible to him."
    Bettis also is critical of the Steelers for their handling of former quarterback Kordell Stewart. Of Stewart's failures, he writes "Part of the blame has to go to Coach Cowher. I'm not sure he ever knew what to do with Kordell."
    Steelers guard Alan Faneca thinks there is some merit to Bettis' thoughts concerning Stewart.
    "Mismanaged? I definitely don't think they gave him (Stewart) the firepower," Faneca said yesterday. "They really didn't help him out a lot at the receiver position, I would definitely say that. We drafted Troy (Edwards in the first round in 1999), but that definitely didn't work out the best for everybody. I think it could be termed that way a little bit."
    Bettis also writes about the "magic" age of 30, when the Steelers seem to begin phasing out players. Faneca believes there is some truth to Bettis' statement.
    "I think it's definitely a regard for the organization that they keep youth and try not to get locked down on guys that are in their twilight years," Faneca said.
    But Townsend thinks it's just a matter of the constant need all NFL teams have of bringing in younger talent.
    "The older you get, they're going to try to find younger guys to step in and play," Townsend said. "I don't know if they phase you out; it's just how their system is. They always have younger guys under you ready to play.
    Bettis also believes the 2002 season -- when the team finished 10-5-1, and lost in the second round of the playoffs to the Tennessee Titans -- could have turned out better had the team not emphasized the passing game.
    He writes: "I'll go to my grave believing that our reliance on a passing attack rather than a consistent running game is what hurt us the most that season. When you can't run the ball ... you can't control the clock and the tempo of the game. You become one dimensional, predictable."
    Neither Townsend nor Faneca had a chance to review the book yesterday. Faneca says he probably won't read it, but only because "I won't have to read it. It will be read to me" by media members seeking reaction.
    "I will do my part to support Jerome and buy the book and read it," Townsend said.
    "The Bus" (Doubleday, $23.95) also includes anecdotes from Bettis' childhood in Detroit and his career at Notre Dame. The book goes on sale Sept. 4.
    Got to agree with Alan there.

    Man, i've been reading alot about how the Steelers fair when they turn to the Passing Game.Every time we do it doesn't result in the Steelers coming out ahead. with all this talk about this up coming season and what Arians plans are, I wonder if we aren't just setting ourselves up for another let down.
    Arians and His 3-TE sets was tried back when He coached with the Browns and You se what Happened there and now he's going to try it again here in Pittsburgh. What did he Say "Things don't change, History just sorta repeats itself."
    "It is hard to wait around for something that you know may never happen;but it's even harder to let go when it's everything you want"

  2. #2
    Veteran KSSteelerfan's Avatar
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    In book, Bettis says he faked injury in 2000
    Associated Press, Updated 1 hour ago

    PITTSBURGH (AP) - Jerome Bettis, the No. 5 rusher in NFL history, claims in a new book that he faked a knee injury during training camp in 2000 so the Pittsburgh Steelers wouldn't cut him and install Richard Huntley as the starter.

    Bettis was worried offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride favored Huntley over him and the Steelers were ready to let Bettis go, partly so they wouldn't have to give him a new contract. Huntley had just signed a $4 million, three-year contract.
    "Man, did I do a nice job of acting," Bettis wrote in the book, "The Bus: My Life in and Out of a Helmet." "The thing is, I wasn't faking that I had an injury. I was just faking that the injury happened on that short-yardage play. I had to fool the coaches and the team's medical department into thinking the injury had occurred on that play. Otherwise, the Steelers would have had their reason to cut me and my salary."

    Teams cannot cut an injured player during camp unless they reach an injury settlement with him.

    "I effectively negated any funny business they were trying to pull on me," Bettis wrote in the book. "I took the pressure off a head coach (Bill Cowher) who was probably trying to get rid of me."

    Bettis' recollection may be more anecdotal than fast-based.

    While Bettis was held out early in that 2000 camp because of a hip injury, his knee injury - the one Bettis said he faked - was not revealed until later in camp. Huntley had a hamstring injury at the time and played in only one preseason game, gaining 13 yards.

    Bettis didn't disclose how a player who was so injured that he missed all but a few days of camp could beat Bettis out of a job and force the Steelers to release him.

    An MRI test by the Steelers during that camp revealed Bettis, who had undergone knee surgery the year before, had blood swelling behind his kneecap as a result of a hit during practice.

    Bettis did not write in the book, co-written with Gene Wojciechowski, how a fresh injury that supposedly didn't occur could cause such test results. He did write that he showed up to camp with a knee problem that had occurred the season before.

    Bettis, who had worked out extensively during the offseason before that camp, said at the time he was very relieved the injury wasn't worse.

    "I was worried about it initially. The MRI showed a bone bruise," Bettis said. "That's when the blood came in. That was refreshing for me because whenever you're dealing with a knee and swelling, you always assume the worst. I assumed the worst, but it tuned out not to be the case."

    Bettis would go on to rush for 1,341 yards that season and later signed a $30 million contract with the Steelers. Huntley gained only 217 yards and was cut after that season, hooking on with Carolina in 2001.

    Bettis also wrote that the Steelers were never sold on Kordell Stewart as their quarterback - despite giving him a $27 million, five-year contract before they moved into Heinz Field in 2001 - and did everything possible to hand the job to Tommy Maddox.

    In the book, Bettis said Stewart had become too rich for them as he entered the last year of his contract in 2002 and they wanted him out.

    "Anybody who tells you money isn't a factor in personnel decisions doesn't know the NFL," Bettis wrote. "I can't prove it, but in my heart I really believe that Kordell was set up for failure that season."

    Bettis was incorrect in writing that Stewart's contract was up that season; the deal ran through 2003.

    Stewart had led the Steelers to a 13-3 record the season before and was chosen as the team MVP but played poorly in the playoffs, and that sub-par play and a visible lack of confidence carried into the 2002 season.

    With Stewart at quarterback, the Steelers lost their first two games to New England (30-14) and Oakland (30-17) and were on the verge of losing a third, to Cleveland, when Cowher inserted Maddox late in the second half with Pittsburgh down 13-6. Maddox rallied the Steelers to a 16-13 overtime victory and would go on to start the rest of that season and in 2003, except for several games when he was hurt.

    Stewart played so poorly at the start of 2002 that some teammates felt the team's season would be lost if he remained the starter. After Stewart was benched, there was no visible sentiment on that team that he should be reinstated.

    Bettis also wrote that the Steelers became too reliant on the pass with Maddox, one reason they didn't go further in the 2002 playoffs; that he had an undisclosed appendectomy before the 1999 season; and that he became incensed when Steelers fans booed him early in the 2004 season for replacing Duce Staley in goal-line situations.

  3. #3
    Banned Steelersfan's Avatar
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    I don't care what you say. Kordell was a big baby who could only do one thing well, run. He couldn't hit open guys down the field and made some dumb decisions passing the ball. He had talent but just never really lived up to it. The team did well with him because of the D we had. That and we ran the ball well with him.
    And I agree with the Maddox era. We passed too much and couldn't control the game. We just weren't built for that then nor are we now. That's why I don't like Parker as our lead back. Sure he will get his yds. But they will come in big chunks. No ball control which will put a lot of pressure on our D. I'd really like to see us have that 1-2 punch we had with Parker and Bettis. Start Willie to score some points and then bring in the Bus to pound them!

  4. #4
    Chairman of the Board Iron City South's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steelersfan View Post
    I don't care what you say. Kordell was a big baby who could only do one thing well, run. He couldn't hit open guys down the field and made some dumb decisions passing the ball. He had talent but just never really lived up to it. The team did well with him because of the D we had. That and we ran the ball well with him.
    Totally agree. Not only did Stewart not have good decision making skills .. the biggest thing that bothered me was his personality in general. Let's be honest, once he made the cover of SI after having 1 good year ... his ego could no longer fit into the same room with others. Couple that with extremely weak leadership skills ..... by this I mean he couldn't get others to rally around him and lead them up a hill. Sure he could call plays and manage the offense, but there's more to being a leader than that! Kordella's off the field behavior of isolating himself from other players didn't help his cause either.
    Last edited by Iron City South; 08-23-2007 at 10:09 PM.

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    i'm not worried that the steelers will fail throwing the ball more 2 b even balanced this year, 1st of all cleveland had no talent so bruce couldn't do anything with nothing but he did score 33 point on us n the playoffs, as long as ben is not trying 2 throw n 2 double or triple coverage, as long as he throws the ball away when he needs 2 an stop throwing an wobbly ball, pittsburgh really could do something special this year if u look at the nfl everyone it seems is going 2 an spread offense,we have the weapons we just have 2 get every one on the offensive side of the ball on the same page, with that being said if all falls n place like it should we will b 12-4 with an superbowl victory (GO STEELERS)

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