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JerseySTEEL 06-12-2005 12:37 PM

Bettis King of Pain
 
More than 200 pros interviewed by the Trib said they weren't impressed by individual stats at the back of the sports section. Instead, they value a player's ability to gut out excruciating injuries. And maybe, they say, that should be the yardstick for Hall of Famers in this era of the diminished back -- their ability to stomach the hurt and keep running.

Their King of Pain? Bettis. "For a guy to be his size and to physically put the punishment he does on defensive backs and linebackers, I mean, he gives blows as much as he takes blows," said Steelers wideout Hines Ward. "For a guy to rush for 13,000 yards and he can still go out today and be productive -- that speaks volumes about his career. He's a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame, in my opinion. "I mean, he wakes up every day sore. Trust me."

This season marked the 10th time Bettis got more than 230 touches. In the history of the NFL, only Smith, Chicago legend Walter Payton and Allderdice High School grad Curtis Martin of the Jets have more combined carries and receptions. Of the 18 running backs drafted in 1993, only Bettis remains. He arrived after a fad for beefy backs and stayed as a nimble throwback to men like Csonka, whom Bettis considers a role model. The admiration is mutual.

"I like to watch The Bus," said Csonka. "I like the way he lowers his shoulders. I like the fact that everyone wrote him off, and there he is, picking up the load and running for his team, like I did with the Dolphins in '79." When Csonka picks apart the way Bettis mastered the game, he points to how he wiggles to take a "glancing" blow instead of a head-on hit, or how he ducks low when a linebacker comes high. Csonka admires Bettis so much, he'll be in Canton the day The Bus parks in the Hall.

Bettis says he'll quit when his body tells him it's time to go and he can't help Pittsburgh. Over the last three years, he's suffered excruciating injuries to the hip, groin, knee and shoulder. Perhaps half a dozen concussions every year. He's not sure. He estimates the grind has shaved five years off of his life. Maybe 10. In his mind, every hit brings him a little closer to death, but he's going to keep driving because that's what The Bus does.

"Your ego and your pride don't let you struggle," he said. "You're a big hitter, but it hurts you the same way. I mean, mentally, you're able to get over it because you get used to it. You get used to the feeling of Monday. Struggling. But hey, I'm going to hurt Monday. I'm probably going to hurt Tuesday. You know what? Wednesday, I'm probably not going to feel great. But Thursday, I'm going to feel fine. Friday, I'll be OK. Saturday, I get to rest. And Sunday, I'm going to beat your head in again."

clevestinks 06-12-2005 02:49 PM

Re: Bettis King of Pain
 
Great article ! Good reading! Bettis plays sort of like Earl Campbell. Can`t even imagine how he feels at the end of a season. Ouch.

BlitzburghRockCity 06-12-2005 04:03 PM

Re: Bettis King of Pain
 
Quote:

I like to watch The Bus," said Csonka. "I like the way he lowers his shoulders. I like the fact that everyone wrote him off, and there he is, picking up the load and running for his team, like I did with the Dolphins in '79." When Csonka picks apart the way Bettis mastered the game, he points to how he wiggles to take a "glancing" blow instead of a head-on hit, or how he ducks low when a linebacker comes high. Csonka admires Bettis so much, he'll be in Canton the day The Bus parks in the Hall.

Bettis says he'll quit when his body tells him it's time to go and he can't help Pittsburgh. Over the last three years, he's suffered excruciating injuries to the hip, groin, knee and shoulder. Perhaps half a dozen concussions every year. He's not sure. He estimates the grind has shaved five years off of his life. Maybe 10. In his mind, every hit brings him a little closer to death, but he's going to keep driving because that's what The Bus does.

"Your ego and your pride don't let you struggle," he said. "You're a big hitter, but it hurts you the same way. I mean, mentally, you're able to get over it because you get used to it. You get used to the feeling of Monday. Struggling. But hey, I'm going to hurt Monday. I'm probably going to hurt Tuesday. You know what? Wednesday, I'm probably not going to feel great. But Thursday, I'm going to feel fine. Friday, I'll be OK. Saturday, I get to rest. And Sunday, I'm going to beat your head in again."

When Czonka gives you that kind of compliment, that says something. Bettis loves contact more than most of your RB's.. he loves to just pound you and pound you in the first half, and then in the second half when the defense is tired, he can make ya miss w/ the best of the big backs. He's the ultimate IMO!!

Damn I wish he wasn't soon ready to retire!!

JerseySTEEL 06-12-2005 07:09 PM

Re: Bettis King of Pain
 
ya i loved this read myself. bettis is the factor why we are going to the superbowl this year!


p.s. i could use some rep points hehe.

LambertIsGod58 06-12-2005 07:22 PM

Re: Bettis King of Pain
 
Bettis is with out a doubt the best big back the NFL has seen since Franco....I wish we had a time machine and make him a rookie again.

stillers4strife 06-12-2005 09:16 PM

Re: Bettis King of Pain
 
Bettis isn't a lock yet to play in '05 is he? I know he took a paycut and what not but I thought he was waiting to see how his body felt during the mini-camp and training camp before he really decided???

Prosdo 06-12-2005 09:50 PM

Re: Bettis King of Pain
 
Very good article Jersey. I enjoyed it. Watching Bettis play is always a treat. Just when you think the defense is about to take him down those feet keep moving and piles through for a few more yards. The Steelers without Bettis is just hard to think about. I am glad he is coming back for atleast one more. I am hoping its a few more.

Volpe1564 06-13-2005 12:35 AM

Re: Bettis King of Pain
 
the biggest thing that sticks out in my mind is the hit he put on Ray Lewis last season....drove him back a good 5 yards with it too ;)

BlitzburghRockCity 06-13-2005 12:40 AM

Re: Bettis King of Pain
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by stillers4strife
Bettis isn't a lock yet to play in '05 is he? I know he took a paycut and what not but I thought he was waiting to see how his body felt during the mini-camp and training camp before he really decided???


He's been talking on NFL network and to the media and he's seems pretty confident in his ability this year. He's heading out this week for his yearly regimine of training w/ Bob Kersee... so if its not 100% in stone that he's gonna play, its 99.5%

JerseySTEEL 06-13-2005 12:58 AM

Re: Bettis King of Pain
 
man the thing i loved to watch from bettis last year is his roll away after jamming tacklers, he just rolls away. ever since he had the the knee surgery, he rly couldnt do it bc of the sling around his knee, he didnt have full use of that leg. and last year we saw what he can do once it came off.


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