Take the Long Way Home

Michael Rosenberg has a great piece in the Detroit Free Press this morning about Bettis and the Steelers.

The Steelers won because they were the toughest, nastiest team in the AFC, which is odd, because the night before the AFC championship game they melted like Richard Simmons getting interviewed by Barbara Walters.

That’s because Bettis was speaking. He told his teammates to bring him home, and he said they just had to do what they had been doing all year. It wasn’t exactly the stuff of Disney movies. But what was said didn’t matter as much as who said it. Bettis, who turns 34 on Feb. 16, is probably going to retire after the Super Bowl. And while there are better running backs, nobody in the NFL is more respected in his locker room than Jerome Bettis.

Last year, as the Patriots finished picking the Steelers out of their teeth in an AFC title game, Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made a pact with Bettis. Come back, Roethlisberger said. Come back and we’ll take you home to Detroit.

Really, he said that.

“I ain’t gonna lie to you,” Bettis said with a laugh. “He promised me that.”

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