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Jerome Bettis Interview

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb
The Truth Network Radio
May 23, 2024 5:14 pm

Jerome Bettis Interview

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb

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May 23, 2024 5:14 pm

The Bus takes a stop on the Zach Gelb Show.

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That means only one thing. We are that much closer to the 2024 season, the real and fantasy as of 2022. 29.2 million Americans played fantasy football, making it the largest fantasy sport in the country. Fantasy drafts will be kicking off soon, and we have a great guest for you. That, of course, is the Pro Football Hall of Famer, and that is Jerome Bettis, who joins us to talk hot picks and the personal health struggle he shares with many Americans that nearly kept him out of football.

And we welcome in the boss as he makes a stop on the Zach Gelb show on the infinity sports network. Jerome, thanks so much for doing this. How are you? I am great. Thanks for having me.

Appreciate it. Well, we'll talk about air serve in just a bit, but let me start you off with the little Steelers. Najee Harris. So far, three years into the NFL, 3269 yards, 22 rushing touchdowns. When you look at his career so far, what stands out to you? Because it's interesting to me. How many people are split on their opinions with the Steelers running back? Yeah, I don't know.

You know how you can be split. You have to look at a running back and you also have to look at its offensive line, right? Because his first year, the offensive line was awful. His second year, they were bad. In this last year, they were maybe a touch below average. So he's been running behind a group that hasn't been playing up to their potential.

They've kind of made a resurgence. They've got some draft picks. They've put some thought into the offensive line and the resources.

And now I believe he'll be running behind the best offensive line he will have had all of his years in Pittsburgh. So you got to look at his success with a grain of salt and say, hey, yeah, it could have been much better. It really could have, but it's not because he wasn't trying.

It's because some of the opportunities weren't there. You know how criticism works. Sometimes it's fair, sometimes it's unfair. So what you're saying is you think the criticism of Najee Harris has been unfair up until this point?

Absolutely. Jerome Bettis here with us, the Pro Football Hall of Famer. Then how about the organization's decision to decline the fifth year option that came out a few weeks ago? So if I was him, I would be happy because you now have an opportunity to go out and prove and bet on yourself, prove to everyone that, hey, I'm a quality running back. And guess what? I'm a free agent, people.

So now you have an opportunity to go out there and write your own story the way you want to write it. So I just think it's a blessing in disguise for him. Now, I think it could backfire against the Steelers, but I think it's a great opportunity for Najee. And to be clear, I like Najee Harris. I also like Jalen Warren as well.

Give me your view on what you've seen on the early career of Jalen Warren. I mean, he's spectacular. I mean, I love his energy, his quickness. He's downhill. He's downhill. He's like a one cut guy.

So, you know, he's really good too. And I think probably that has something to factor in. Obviously, you got another running back that you really like as well. So do I commit those resources or do I let it play out? And I think that's what the Steelers decided.

We're not going to overcommit the resources. We're going to let it play out. And if he proves that he's the guy that we got to go, we got to get, then you re-sign him.

And if that's not the case, then you allow him to go out and find a new home. But I think it's up to him because I think he's going to have plenty of opportunities along with Jalen Warren. The Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis is here with us. The quarterback situation in Pittsburgh has been an interesting one this offseason. You know, they signed Russell Wilson and they say goodbye to Kenny Pickett.

They trade him to Philly and then boom, they trade for Justin Fields. How have you processed what the Steelers have done at the QB spot this year? Well, I just think it's master for what they've done because what they have now done is ensured that they're going to get a high level of quarterback play. That's the one thing that has eluded them ever since Ben Roethlisberger left, right? They haven't had the high level quarterback play. And so now you've got two veteran quarterbacks who say, you know, I want to be the guy and they're going to bust their butts.

So every day you're going to have the competition that does nothing but make both of these guys much better. And ultimately the team benefits from that. And I think you're going to get a high level of quarterback play, which can be the difference between going to the playoffs and losing in the first round and making a deep run. You know, it's kind of crazy with the Steelers because for so many years it was Super Bowl or bust. They haven't had a Super Bowl or bust feeling like you were alluding to in a long time. This is an organization that they haven't won a playoff game since the 2016 season.

You being a great stealer and winning a Super Bowl, how disappointing is that to see how far away they've been from that standard of Super Bowl or bust? Yeah, it's been tough because they've been just good enough to be average, right? Not bad enough where they can go out and get a player in the draft that can make a significant difference, right?

They drafted in the mid-20s, you know, high, 18-night. You're not getting that impact player. And so that's been the problem. And so now, this is a really good opportunity to get a quality quarterback. And I think that is the missing piece. You got the receivers, you got the running backs, you got the tight end, you got an amazing defense that's going out, busting their butt.

You got everything in place. You got offensive line revamped. Now, the one piece was the quarterback playing. Now, you got two guys that can give you an opportunity.

And now, the potential is one of these guys wins the job but also wins an opportunity for a long-term play in Pittsburgh. Yeah, I think Russell Wilson is going to win the job. I'd be surprised if he doesn't.

How about yourself? Would it surprise you if Russell isn't starting week one in Atlanta against the Falcons? It would surprise me. But I think he's definitely the polished guy. You saw what he was doing last year in Denver.

He didn't leave Denver because of his play. I can promise you that. So, I believe he'll be the starter week one. Now, the question is, Justin Fields, he's the, you know, that joker because you don't know what you're going to get. You love his skill set, what he's capable of. Can he put it all together, right? And will he develop to the next step? And if he does that, he can be a 10-year solution at quarterback as well. You know, just curious, if you were in that locker room, like I don't think Russ could be a great quarterback again. I still think he could be good for Justin Fields.

It's that untapped potential where maybe he could be a really good quarterback one day. Who would you prefer to start if you were in that locker room seeing this competition play out? Well, I would say I want the guy to give me the best chance of winning, right? So, I'm looking at it daily saying, hey, who's stepping up today, right? Because at the end of the day, if you put, you know, multiple days together, then as a teammate, that's the guy I want, right? I want the guy that is consistently going out there busting his butt being the best he could be because that's what I'm doing, right? I'm going out there to be the best version of myself.

So, I want a guy who I can look at and say, you know what? I'll follow you, right? Because I'm doing it and I know that you're doing it.

I see you doing it. So, now, because that's what you got to think. These guys have to lead the team. So, if they're not busting their butt every single day in practice, the guys see it, right? And they know it. And I think, and I think, you know, Coach Tomlin, he's going to know it. So, that's why I think this is a good opportunity because both of these guys are going to be busting their butt.

I'll talk to you about air serve in just a second. Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis is here with us. We talked about how the Steelers have just been average, above average. They've been good. They haven't been horrific, but they haven't been great in a long time, not winning a playoff game since that 2016 season. I have to ask you, where's your belief level that Mike Tomlin is still the right guy to coach the Steelers?

Oh, it's extremely high. I think this is a championship feel to it. I think if you go back and you look at this team, the one thing that was missing was a high level of quarterback play. Hadn't gotten it. Ben, at the end of his career, wasn't able physically to do all the things that he could do.

So, he wasn't able to get the mobile then that was moving around. So, the latter part of these years have been tough from a high level quarterback play, right? So, now you got an opportunity to get high level quarterback play.

I think it changes the entire dynamic. Now, you got a championship caliber football team with the championship caliber defense that they had last year already. So, now this offense catches up with the defense. This could be a very, very, very dangerous football team. I know you want to discuss your personal story going back to when you were a kid and also what you're doing, getting people ready for the football season in a fun way.

So, the platform is yours, my friend. Well, I just want to just tell you about how I came to partner with Air Serve, a neighborly company. And really, when I was 14, I went out for football and passed out, taken to the doctor, found out I was asthmatic. And through that, I understood what I needed to do to make sure that I was able to control and manage the asthma.

Was able to play, you know, 13 years in the NFL, have a Hall of Fame career. And when I retired, I started to have children. And I quickly realized that home was a critical area for me in terms of the quality of the air. And so, I was able to partner with Air Serve and we were able to then create a program for myself. And so, now it's all about that information and education because we want to raise awareness about air quality. And you have to understand that you have a company that's one of the leading HVAC and indoor air quality service providers. They're able to do so much. So, I'm able to use my platform to show everyone, hey, you need to be thinking about the air quality in your home.

And so, we were able to come together and really push that message to help a lot of people. And now, we're pivoting, you know, getting into football season with the excitement that's going on. And now, we're going to present the Air Serve Ultimate Fantasy Football Draft Party. It's going to be August the 10th in Nashville, Tennessee. And to register, all anyone needs to do is go to airserve.com slash fantasy draft to register. But you got to register by June the 30th to have an opportunity to come to Nashville and party with me at the draft.

That's going to be a whole lot of fun. And of course, it's great information. And I appreciate you sharing that with us today. I got to ask you, who are some of your favorite running backs right now in the NFL?

Oh, man. Jonathan Taylor, obviously, is a monster. But I'm a huge fan of Saquon Barkley.

And so, I think he's going to have a huge year this year. King Henry, obviously, he's a stud. But those are the guys that kind of are at the top of the list.

But then you got some other ones. Williams in LA. Tyron, I'm a fan of his. He's a Notre Dame guy. So, you've got quite a bit of different types of running backs out there. McCaffrey, he is a superstar.

And I'm a fan of his as well. So, you got quite a bit of running backs to choose from in terms of from a fantasy perspective. And then you got your quarterbacks.

You got a ton. Then you are receivers. So, this will be a fun draft because you got so many talented players that you can choose from.

Last thing I'll ask you. And obviously, you're a household name in the NFL. Like growing up on Long Island, Philly kids would always have Jetsons and Giants jerseys. But there would always be Jerome Bettis, 36 jerseys. Ladanian Tomlinson as well. Ray Lewis, some of those players.

Tony Gonzalez. When you look back at your career, we know where you sit. Your football, you know, Hall of Famer and had a great career, ended it with the championship. What are you most proud about when you look back at your career? That I was a great teammate. That I showed up to play every single week in my teammates' economy and get the production that I was able to provide for those guys. And to this day, when they call me and, hey, they need me for a golf tournament and need me here, you know, I'm on that plane supporting them.

And I think that's what being a great teammate is all about. Alrighty. I know the bus has to depart.

We always enjoy when you take a stop with us. Thanks so much, Jerome Bettis. You're the best. Thank you. Appreciate it.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-23 19:12:38 / 2024-05-23 19:19:54 / 7

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