"It will never go away," he said of the cloud that's hanging over his head.
He may be right, and he realizes that it's part of life. Hopefully, Bettis will see his way past this ugly situation as he regains his solid-gold reputation.
The Steelers practiced without center Jeff Hartings, who is listed as questionable for the game with a sprained MCL. Outside linebacker Joey Porter returned to practice, but is still listed as questionable with a sprained shoulder. Inside linebacker Kendrell Bell and reserve cornerback Hank Poteat will miss the game with ankle and toe injuries, respectively.
Rookie Larry Foote will replace Bell and it's expected that Coach Bill Cowher will start rookie first-round pick Kendall Simmons at right guard in place of the ineffective Oliver Ross.
Here's the scouting report on the Raiders:
Defensive tackle John Parrella isn't as big as
350-pound sidekick Sam Adams, but word is that he's very, very effective. It
will be difficult for the Steelers to run up the middle.
They'll also have trouble passing on Charles Woodson. He and fellow cornerback Tory James play strictly man-to-man, while safeties Rod Woodson and second-year pro Derrick Gibson will cover "inside out." The word on R. Woodson is that he's still a very effective player.
The weakness of the Raiders' defense is linebacker, even though Bill Romanowski remains a quality player. Rookie Napoleon Harris "makes rookie mistakes, but he can move." Weak-side backer Eric Barton is a smaller version of James Farrior.
Offensively, "they seem like they want to show the world they don't miss Jon Gruden."
Quarterback Rich Gannon isn't looking to run like he has in the past. Running backs Charlie Garner and Tyrone Wheatley are very good, and receivers Tim Brown and Jerry Rice are still dangerous. Rice, it's said, is still performing at a high level.
The Raiders opened with a no-huddle attack last week and marched down the field for a touchdown. Even though Coach Bill Callahan said that he wouldn't use it against the Steelers because he has so many running backs, the Steelers would be surprised if they don't use the no-huddle Sunday night.
As for the special teams, rookie nickel back Patrick Buchanon is as dangerous a punt-returner as the Steelers' Antwaan Randle El, and Terry Kirby remains a quality kick-returner. Sebastian Janikowski had a poor preseason, but "looked good in warm-ups last week and made his only attempt." Punter Kevin Stemke filled in for Pro Bowler Shane Lechler and averaged 50.5 yards on two punts.
-- Jim Wexell