Bettis tells Fan, Najee can be much better than him

Hall of Famer also discussed Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Tomlin
Jerome Bettis with football
Photo credit Tom R. Smedes/Special to RGJ-Imagn Content Services, LLC

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – It not often you hear a Hall of Famer say a player that plays his position can be a better than him.

Jerome Bettis said the numbers may not show it, but he believes, with some help, Najee Harris will have a superior career.

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“I just see a special football player,” the Steelers great told the Cook & Joe Show on Monday.  “He can be much better than me.  I was more one-dimensional where he is multi-dimensional.”

“He can block.  He can run.  He can catch it.  He can do it all.  He has a chance to be really special.”

Bettis says if they surround Harris with players doing their job.  Look out.

“The key is you need an offensive line that can go out there and get the job done,” Bettis said.  “You need a quarterback that can help keep the eighth man out of the box.  You need some help.  He’s got to get some help.  It looked like last week he was getting that help he needs.”

Harris had his first professional 100-yard rushing game against the Broncos.  The Steelers first round pick already had a 100-yard receiving game against Cincinnati.

“I watched all the running backs (draft eligible in 2021),” Bettis said.  “I watched him out of college.  I watched him his freshman year at Alabama.  I’m a big fan of his.  The sky is the limit for him.”

Ben Roethlisberger

“He can still spin it with the best of them,” Bettis told 93.7 The Fan about his former teammate.  “The problem that Ben has is the problem most guys have when they get around 40.  Your foot speed slows up.  Where he used to be very elusive and get out of those things, now not so much because physically he’s older.”

“He was never the fastest guy in the first place.  Now you take some of that away from him.  The mobility is not the same.  If you give him some time.  You give him a running back.  Then you get the best of Ben.”

Roethlisberger threw it 32 times in the win at Buffalo and 25 times against Denver.  In the three losses, the 39-year-old threw it a combined 138 times.

“That’s what the team has to understand,” Bettis told Cook & Joe.  “That’s what Canada has to understand.  If you ask Ben to throw the ball 45 times a game.  You are asking for an average Ben Roethlisberger.  If you ask him to throw the ball 25-27 times a game, now you are going to get a special football player.”

“He can still make all the throws, you just can’t ask him to carry the team at this time in his career.”

Bettis, like so many discussing the team, said it’s all about the development of that line.

“I’m telling you, if that offensive line can get going,” Bettis told 93.7 The Fan.  “This team has a chance to be really good.  They do.  They have all the skill positions.  They have the talent.  If they can sure up that offensive line, you will see something very special.”

Mike Tomlin

Jerome Bettis only played for Bill Cowher during his time with the Steelers.  He has talked to Mike Tomlin a number of times.

“He is right down the line,” Bettis said of Tomlin’s demeanor.  “He doesn’t dip low.  He doesn’t go high.  He just stays the same.  He is the calming influence regardless.  If you are playing well, he’s going to bring you back to earth.  If you are not playing well, he’s going to tell you where you need to get to and how you do it.”

“As a player that’s what I love to see.  This is what we need to do.  This is how we are going to do it.  These are the steps we needs to take.”

Bettis talked to Cook & Joe during his ‘Bus Stops Here Foundation & Butler Health System Celebrity Golf Outing’ at Treesdale Golf & Country Club.

For more information on Bettis’ charity providing inner-city youth with opportunities and resources to become healthy, confident and productive individuals in society. Go to

Featured Image Photo Credit: Tom R. Smedes/Special to RGJ-Imagn Content Services, LLC