The Bus arrives in Detroit

The media snuggled up Monday with the face of Super Bowl XL -- Steelers running Back Jerome Bettis.

JEROME BETTIS

On reception in Detroit:
"It's been great. It has been great. From people on the freeway honking to people at the hotel, it's been great. I'm living a dream right now."

On Ben Roethlisberger's promise to him last year and his thought process in coming back:
"Last year after the AFC Championship game I addressed my teammates because I really thought that last year was probably the end of the road. I gave it a little time. I talked to Coach (Bill Cowher) and he told me to take some time and let my body heal up. That took about a month, maybe three weeks. I came back in and talked to Coach again and felt good physically and wanted to take another crack at it."

On what else went into it besides physical aspect and Brett Favre's latest comments:
"I can definitely relate to it because there are points of the season where you say to yourself, ‘Man, I'm tired. I don't feel like it. I don't want to do it anymore. I'm done.' Then there are times you go out there and have success and say you know what, I can see myself doing it again. So you fight with those thoughts and it's just something you have to find a place because you can't go out there and not be committed to it. I think that is what he's struggling with right now, his commitment to next year. Physically, I don't think it's an issue of whether or not he can play. The question is, in his quiet moments when he has to get up and go work out, is it still there? Does he want to get up, does he want to do that, does he want to make that type of commitment? That's a tough one to answer. I think when you stop getting up, you've answered it without even having to say it."

On how much he struggled with that aspect of it:
"I struggled with it for a while. Even after I told Coach I wanted to come back, it was tough for me. I went out to St. Louis and was training with Bob Kersee, the track coach, and there were some days I said to myself, ‘What am I doing out here? I don't know if I want to keep doing this.' The love of the game kept pushing me around the track. The commitment was there and the resolve was great for me to be here."

On what was in his mind as he touched down in Detroit:
"We got off the freeway and I was telling myself, ‘Man, this is my neighborhood, this is where I'm from.' Guys were asking me questions, ‘Hey, where's the Super Bowl signs?' I said, ‘Don't worry about it, you'll see the signs.' It's just one of those things where I'm just enjoying the moment, not necessarily thinking about the Super Bowl being here. I was just enjoying looking at the houses as I went by and really enjoying the moment and trying to take a snapshot of that moment."

On the team wearing his Notre Dame jersey:
"Well, just about every game this year, guys have worn jerseys to commemorate somebody on the team. When we played the Lions they wore Coach (Dick) LeBeau's jersey and when we played the Cleveland Browns they wore Coach Cowher's jersey, so I guess they thought it was only fitting that on the road back to Detroit for everyone to wear Jerome's Notre Dame jersey."

On how growing up in Detroit has shaped him:
"I think it definitely made me into the man who I am in the sense that I became well rounded. I learned a lot of the core values that I have today, but also the toughness and physical nature I go out and try to play football with. I believe it all started here and that's why it is a special place in my heart always."

On a redevelopment project here in the city:
"It means everything because it gives the country an opportunity to see the city in a different light, and that we are trying to rebuild the city. For years it hadn't been looked at as a place you would want to go. From a corporate standpoint, you didn't want to have your headquarters here in Detroit. Now, it is important that the thought be changed and it takes an event like this to change the minds of people so they can actually come here. I don't think Detroit was on that destination list that a lot of people have. It needed to get this boost for people to see that Detroit is on the rise. We all have bumps in the road, but I think Detroit overall is a great city. I'm committed to this city, not only speaking about it, but I'm willing to put my resources into the city to try and make it the city it can be."

On Seattle not believing that 255 pounds is his weight:
"They don't believe we are a good football team either, probably. They can weigh me on Sunday."

On if he feels like he's the goodwill ambassador for the city:
"I feel that because I'm in the game it gives me a medium to really talk about Detroit, and I think it's great. If I'm the ambassador, I'm willing to carry that flag because I love the city."

On if he feels like he's carrying the load because everyone is talking about him:
"That's great because I'm not going to be in there every down. If you put the pressure on me, that's even better because it gives my teammates an opportunity to get ready for the game. After 13 years I figure my shoulders are big enough to carry a little bit of pressure."

On seeing his mom enjoying her moment in the sun:
"I really think it is great that my mother and my father are able to capture a moment for themselves. Thirteen years following me all around this great country of ours, they deserve it. They've been incredible parents to me, my brother and my sister. I believe it's due. I like to think that it's due that I get to play in this game as well. I like to think that everyone is getting their just due."

On if the fact that the Super Bowl was in Detroit factored into his decision to return this season:
"That was a factor, that was a thought. When I realized the Super Bowl was going to be here, it definitely affected my decision to come back. It wasn't a major reason why I came back, but it was one of those ‘Man, that would be nice to play in a Super Bowl in my hometown.' You say that and you then say OK, you can't worry about that. You have to worry about the season and there were a couple of points in the season where I thought it didn't look like it was going to happen. We were struggling and losing a couple of games and that doubt crept in and said here we go again, and that unfortunately we might not be able to get to Detroit. But, we were able to get out of that tailspin."

On if he will have second thoughts about walking away if he believes he can still be effective:
"No question about it. It's always tough when you still can get it done. That's what I was looking at last year. I knew that I could get it done. I got the opportunity and I was able to prove it. This year the opportunities didn't come as much but I was still able to prove my worth in terms of the short yardage and goal line opportunities. I know that push comes to shove, I can still go out and get it done. The question is the desire to get it done. That is definitely in the back of my mind with a thumbs up because, physically, I know I can go out and still compete at the level that I'm used to."

On if it's a distraction to be back here in Detroit:
"People say I'm not going to be able to focus because of the distractions but there really aren't any distractions. The possible distraction would be family, but my family comes to every game anyway. If that's the case then I'm distracted every week. So, that's really not a distraction. I see my family every week. Sometimes they are tired of looking at me, sometimes I'm tired of looking at them. That won't be a distraction. The biggest distraction is obviously the media requests, but we all have to deal with that so I don't think that's too big of a problem."

On his career's proudest achievement:
"That's a tough one because I'm proud of what I've been able to accomplish, the yards and everything, but it's still not complete. I'd be lying to you if I said it was complete. Having an opportunity to play in this game takes me one step closer to it being complete. But if there was one thing I'd have to say it's probably being fifth all-time (in rushing yards). With all the great running backs who have played this game, I think that's a pretty big achievement."

On his neighborhood and being a kid in Detroit:
"I didn't play football until high school so I wasn't that familiar with football. I was a bowler. I bowled until high school. I bowled. It's not here anymore. It was Citrus City Lanes, Garden Bowl was another place I bowled at. Football was a second thought, bowling was my first love. I decided to play football in high school. I had success and was very, very lucky and was fortunate to be blessed to play. After that, everything else just fell into place, but football wasn't the objective. I had a lot of friends on the block. We played games on the block. We stayed to our own neighborhood and our own area. Every now and then, we'd ride our bikes downtown if the festivals were there, but we pretty much stayed in our own neighborhood."


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