PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) — It’s been a long wait, but finally, Jerome Bettis has gotten the call to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
This was the fifth consecutive year Bettis was a finalist. He was passed over the previous four years.
Following the news, Bettis tweeted:
Bettis, or “The Bus” as he’s known to Steelers’ fans, is the sixth leading rusher in NFL history.
The only other running back eligible this year was former Denver Broncos’ back Terrell Davis. Eleven of the top 14 rushers are in the Hall of Fame. Bettis was the only eligible one not in Hall of Fame.
The Steelers posted this tweet congratulating Bettis:
In addition to Bettis, Junior Seau, Tim Brown, Charles Haley and Will Shields were also selected. The class of 2015, announced a day before the Super Bowl, also includes a pair of contributors, Bill Polian and Ron Wolf, along with senior selection Mick Tingelhoff.
Five nominees were eliminated in the final vote: Tony Dungy, Kevin Greene, Marvin Harrison, Orlando Pace and Kurt Warner.
Earlier Saturday, the selection committee reduced the list of 15 modern-day finalists by cutting Davis, Morten Andersen, John Lynch and coaches Don Coryell and Jimmy Johnson.
A candidate needs 80 percent of the vote from 46 media members to get in.
Seau, elected posthumously, was the only first-time eligible candidate to get in this year. He committed suicide at age 43 in 2012, and researchers who studied his brain said it showed signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a disease connected to repeated head injuries, including concussions.
His death, less than 2 1/2 years after the end of his playing career, resonated among players in the league, raising worry about the physical and emotional toll the sport takes.
Bettis will be inducted during a ceremony in August in Canton, Ohio. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ed Bouchette says the Steelers may be part of the celebration. In a tweet, he says sources tell him they will play in the Hall of Fame Game.
Current Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell was also honored Saturday. He was named the FedEx Ground Player of the Year. Along with the award, the Steelers say FedEx will be making a $25,000 donation to the Red Cross in Pittsburgh.
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