Notre Dame is traditionally at or near the top of the list when is comes to the graduation rates of its student athletes. An Irish football legend is intending to do his part to add to that proud record of academic success.
Jerome Bettis, NFL Hall of Famer and stalwart on some great Lou Holtz’s teams from 1990-1992 announced on Twitter this week that he has returned to campus for one more semester to complete coursework and earn his degree from ND.
A lot has happened in Bettis’ life since he first came to campus 32 years ago.
5-11, 248, Bettis, who hails from Detroit Michigan came to South Bend in 1990 and quickly became a fan favorite. Affectionately nicknamed “the Bus” for his habit of carrying tacklers on his back, often times into the endzone, Bettis set the all time school record for touchdowns scored in a season in 1991 with 20. One of his most memorable performances came in the 1992 Sugar Bowl, when he ran for 150 yards and 3 TDs, all scored in the 4th quarter in a come from behind 39-28 victory over Florida. That game famously, in Notre Dame circles, came to be known as The Cheerios Bowl.
In his 3 year collegiate career he totaled 1,912 yards rushing, and scored 36 touchdowns.
Bettis decided to forgo his final season of eligibility and the Los Angeles Rams selected him as the 10th overall pick in the 1993 NFL draft.
During a three-year stint with the Rams (1993-95), he led the team in rushing each year and topped 1,000 yards on the ground in his first two seasons.
Bettis joined the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1996 and rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of his first six seasons with the Steelers. His 50 games of at least 100 yards rushing rank first in Steeler history. His 13,662 NFL rushing yards currently ranks eighth all-time. He scored 91 touchdowns in his pro career.
Bettis announced his pro football retirement on the field after the Steelers defeated the Seahawks 21-10 in Super Bowl XL, a game that was played in his hometown of Detroit in 2005. “I played this game for a championship. I’m a champion, and I think the Bus’s last stop is here in Detroit,” he said while holding the Vince Lombardi Trophy and standing atop the championship podium.
On January 31, 2015, Bettis was elected the the NFL Hall of Fame. Since retirement he has been active as a broadcaster, actor, restaurant owner, and heading up The Jerome Bettis Bus Stops Here Foundation.