It's not quite official, but it looks like The Bus may have made his last stop in Pittsburgh. Jerome Bettis met with teammates on Monday and based on the prevailing mood during the accompanying media session, the answer was pretty clear.
"Everybody was crying, that's how bad it hurts," a tearful Hines Ward admitted. "I learned so much from the guy, to me he's always a champion, regardless of if he played in a Super Bowl or not."
Despite his absence in the Big One, Bettis marks a stellar twelve-year career as the fifth all-time leading rusher in NFL history, just ahead of Eric Dickerson and Tony Dorsett. After opening the season as the backup to free-agent acquisition Duce Staley, the Bus wound up leading Pittsburgh in rushing with 941 yards on 250 carries.
It's a tough way to go out, if that's how you go out." Bettis said. "Right now the way I look at it, I don't have any regrets."
Bring on the hype -
Look for the ratings on Sunday's Conference Championship games to be huge for both CBS and FOX Sports; leading up to what will undoubtedly be the most over-hyped Super Bowl in recent memory.
In hopes of avoid last year's bare-breasted/exposed nipple/wardrobe malfunction, the league has gone generic for 2005, featuring such luminaries as Alicia Keyes, Country Star Gretchen Wilson, The Charlie Daniels Band, Black Eyed Peas, Earth, Wind & Fire, John Fogerty, Kelly Clarkson and to top it all off, a halftime show featuring Paul McCartney.
Speaking of hype -
The New Jersey Times is reporting that Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens, who has been out since suffering a sprained ankle and a broken fibula Dec. 19 against Dallas, will definitely play a key role in the Super Bowl against New England on Feb. 6.
The newspaper quotes a source as saying he expected Owens would be the team's No. 3 wide receiver on the natural grass surface of AllTel Stadium and play between 30 and 40 plays in the game.
I give it a million to one chance that Moss makes the field, but it does give ESPN something to filibuster over, twelve-hours a day over the next two weeks.
Rumor of the Day -
Is Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss headed to Miami? That's what is coming out of Southern Florida these days.
Another million to one shot, but it does give ESPN something else to filibuster over, the other twelve hours of the day over the next two weeks.
Word out of Pittsburgh has Steelers wide receiver Plaxio Burress heading elsewhere next season. It appears that the four-year veteran isn't exactly feeling too cushy with his limited role offensively. Following Sunday's loss to the Patriots, Burress admitted that this was probably his last game with the Steelers.
"It's Pittsburgh - history speaks for itself," Burress told reporters. "(The Steelers are) not going to change and I'm not going to change. I'm just going to keep trying to be one of the greats, but three or four balls just doesn't suit me very well. Everybody keeps telling me how important a person I am on this football team, but you can't justify that for me right now. Just look at the whole season - it speaks for itself."
So does a three pass, 37-yards performance against the Patriots.
In all reality -
It may be his last season in New England, but cornerback Ty Law is looking to make the best of it, despite sitting out since Oct. 31 with a foot injury. Law is now zipping around on a motorized scooter, enjoying the confines of Bob Kraft's box suite while watching his teammates clinch their third Super Bowl berth in the last four-years.
The ten-year veteran became expendable when Randall Gay and Asante Samuel pulled off a more than adequate job as replacements in the Patriots secondary. With Law scheduled for a base salary of nearly $10 million, along with a salary cap hit in the neighborhood of $12.5 million you can bet Kraft will opt out for the younger duo at half the price.
Quote(s) of the week -
Former Jaguar and now current Eagles defensive end Hugh Douglas, when questioned on Jan. 21 about a possible return to Jacksonville for Super Bowl XXXIX -
"It's not a big-time city," Douglas said. "It was never a great match with me and Jacksonville. The fans in Jacksonville are college fans. They don't know the NFL."
"Being a black man in Jacksonville is like stepping into a time machine and going back in time. It's like going back to the 1950s."
Eagles defensive end Hugh Douglas, when questioned on Jan.23, moments after his team had clinched the trip to Jacksonville to face the Patriots in this year's Super Bowl –
"It's never that I didn't like Jacksonville. They've got great fans. They came out and supported the Jaguars even when things weren't going well."
As a side note for those keeping track – during the three-years prior to joining Jacksonville Douglas' averaged over twelve sacks per season. His lone year with the Jags in 2003 resulted in a grand total 3.5 sacks.
His 2004 total with the Eagles – 3.0 sacks and 0 assisted tackles.
Schon can be reached at Schon@prostarmediagroup.net
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Schon: Rumors, Rants & Raves 1/25/05
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