Bettis may not return

In an interview with Pittsburgh's KDKA-TV, Jerome Bettis said he still hasn't decided whether he'll return to play next season.

Speaking to reporter Bob Pompeani from his home in Atlanta, Ga., Bettis said he restructured his contract last week to help the Steelers get under the salary cap.

Prior to the turn of the NFL's fiscal calendar on Wednesday, Bettis agreed to a new one-year contract that will pay him approximately $1.5 million this season instead of the $4.484 million he had been due. But the 33-year-old said he hasn't decided whether he wants to come back for his 13th season.

"It's still, for me, not a done deal in that sense," Bettis said. "The Steelers asked me to restructure for the cap and I still haven't been able to give coach (Bill Cowher) a firm decision, so he's given me some more time. Obviously the contract has given me more time and I'll be able to let the coaching staff and the organization know, probably around June, June 1, as to my plans."

Pompeani, who's worked with Bettis at KDKA throughout the player's career, said Bettis will resume working out in a week.

"My training regimen is going to be the same," Bettis said. "It's important for me to go through the same process because if I step on the football field I want to be in great shape and I want to be comparable to where I was last year and the year before that, and so I need to do the same things that I've been doing."

Bettis told Pompeani he'd have no problem accepting a back-up role behind Duce Staley, and that the lure of playing a Super Bowl in his hometown of Detroit at the end of the coming season is strong.

"I think the team has a chance to be a Super Bowl contending football team," he said. "If they weren't I wouldn't come back because I wouldn't come back just to play. I'm coming back to try and win a championship, and I really think this team has the make-up to do that. That the Super Bowl is in Detroit, yeah, that's a factor. That's something I looked at. It'd be great to finish where I started."


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