Bettis, Greene Hall of Fame finalists
Former Steelers running back Jerome Bettis and linebacker Kevin Greene are finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2014.
Former Steelers’ running back Jerome Bettis and linebacker Kevin Greene were among the 15 finalists announced on Thursday for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2014. They were selected from an initial list of 126 individuals that included 89 players, 16 coaches and 21 contributors that was then whittled down to 25 semifinalists.
Bettis, who has been a finalist the previous three years, rushed for 10,571 yards with the Steelers, and amassed 13,662 career yards overall in his career, ranking sixth all-time in the NFL.
“Jerome has put in the work and he is worthy of being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” said Hall of Fame center Dermontti Dawson. “With his stats, he has put in the work to qualify.”
He was the Steelers leading rusher from 1996-2001 and in 2003-04, and posted 50 100-yard games with the Steelers. He was voted to the Pro Bowl six times and capped his career by helping to lead the Steelers to a Super Bowl XL Championship.
“He had tremendous feet,” said former Steelers running back Merril Hoge, now an NFL analyst for ESPN. “His lateral movement was great for any size. He could play between the tackles, which in the NFL is the majority of where you play. The combination of his size, power and quickness allowed him to be extremely unique and rare.”
Greene, a finalist the last two years, played 15 seasons in the NFL, three of them with the Steelers (1993-95). He was a fifth-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Rams in 1985, and soared to success in his fourth NFL season when he finished the year with 16.5 sacks. In his three seasons with the Steelers he had 35.5 sacks and two Pro Bowl selections. He finished his career with 160 sacks, 26 fumble recoveries, five interceptions, and recorded three safeties.
“He had such a will to inflict a sack on the quarterback,” said Steelers’ defensive assistant Jerry Olsavsky, who played linebacker with Greene. “Back in 1993 when Kevin showed up here, that was his main goal. He would always say, ‘I have to get to the quarterback.’ He would remind you, ‘I have to get to the quarterback.’ It was a running play and he would still say, ‘I have to get to the quarterback,’ and we would tell him it’s a running play.”
The class of 2014 will be announced in New York City on Saturday, Feb. 1, during the NFL Honors Awards Show as a part of Super Bowl XLVIII weekend.
Finalists for Hall of Fame Class of 2014: K Morten Andersen. RB Jerome Bettis, LB Derrick Brooks, WR Tim Brown, Eddie DeBartolo, Jr., Owner, Coach Tony Dungy, LB Kevin Greene, DE Charles Haley, WR Marvin Harrison, OT Walter Jones, DB John Lynch, WR Andre Reed, OG Will Shields, DE Michael Strahan, DB Aeneas Williams.