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Local Detroit News

Friday, 6 October, 2006 11:18 PM

Jerome Bettis signs autographs at Sam's Club

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com

Former football player Jerome Bettis appears in his hometown to sign autographs of his latest book "Driving Home."
by Jason Rzucidlo
americajr@americajr.com

Just yesterday, Jerome Bettis was doing interviews on TV's "Regis and Kelly" and "Late Night with Conan O'Brien." 'The Bus' has returned to his hometown of Detroit to autograph copies of his new book called Driving Home. The former running back retired after winning Super Bowl XL earlier this year.

Jerome Bettis was born in Detroit on Feb. 16, 1972. He played football for the University of Notre Dame while in college. He led the school to a 28-3 victory in the Cotton Bowl. He entered the NFL in 1993 when he played for the Los Angeles Rams. Later, Bettis played for the St. Louis Rams and most recently the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Bettis was considering to retire in 2005. Upon finding out that Super Bowl XL would be held in his hometown of Detroit, the running back decided to continue playing for one more year. The chance of making it to the Super Bowl was his goal and it became reality. In that game, Bettis ran for 43 yard with 14 carries. The Steelers beat the Seattle Hawks 21-10 in Super Bowl XL.

After winning the Super Bowl, Bettis said, "It's been an incredible ride. I played this game to win a championship. I'm a champion [now], and I think the Bus' last stop is here in Detroit." Like most athletes, he wanted to end his career on a high point. This was his moment so he decided to go out in style.

Jerome Bettis has been busy or busier now that he has retired from the NFL. Days after retiring as a football player, Bettis signed a deal with NBC Sports to become one of the announcers for the Sunday Night Football show.

Bettis received a Doctoral degree from Lawrence Technological University. The degree honored the football player in the field of Humanities for his charitable work. Jerome Bettis founded a program called "Cyber Bus" which offers Detroit middle and high school students the chance to build and operate the newest computer technologies. Currently, 120 students have benefited from his program.

The future hall-of-famer has also made an appearance on NBC's hit show The Office. He has also found the time to write a brand new book called Driving Home. This book highlights Bettis' 2005-05 season that ends with a Super Bowl victory right here in Detroit. He unveils the relationships that he's had with his former team mates and much more. The retail price of his new book is $29.95 but you are able to purchase it from Sam's Club at only $18.87. A DVD is included with book purchase titled "The Bus."

Jerome Bettis was unavailable for interviews while at Sam's Club. However, I had the opportunity to interview some of his fans who waited in line to see the football star.

Tom Emery from Temperance, Mich. waited to see Jerome Bettis for about two hours. When asked why he likes Bettis, Emery said, "cause he's from Detroit, a hometown hero." Emery said the highlight of Jerome Bettis' career was probably his Super Bowl victory. As far as Bettis being an announcer on Sunday Night Football, Emery reports, "I think he's doing a good job."

Phil McMullen came all the way from Pittsburgh, Penn. to see Jerome Bettis and get his autograph. McMullen speaks about Bettis, he's an "all-around good guy." He has liked Bettis since he joined the Steelers. While he did not attend Super Bowl XL, he still came to downtown Detroit just to experience the moment. McMullen waited "One and a half hours to see him. Some people got here two hours ago."

Emery Cook is a local fan from Southgate, Mich. who arrived about an hour before the football star. Cook explains, "I've been a Steeler fan for 28 years." He has liked Jerome Bettis ever since he came to the Steelers back in 1996. When asked if Jerome Bettis will become a Hall-of-Famer, Cook replied, "I think he'll make it first vote."

Look for Jerome Bettis as he anchors NBC's Sunday Night Football during the upcoming Steelers game. Bettis will continue work for his charity called "The Bus Stops Here Foundation." The organization works to improve life for disadvantaged and underprivileged children. He also works with the American Lung Foundation to promote asthma research.

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com

Jerome Bettis autographs his new book Driving Home for one of his fans.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com

Sam's Club in Southgate was the site of the Jerome Bettis' book signing.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com

Dedicated fans waited hours to see their hometown hero.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com

This is where Jerome Bettis will sit and sign copies of his new book. We are waiting for his arrival...

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com

As you enter the Southgate Sam's Club, you will see hundreds of copies of the new book. They are selling for $18.87 at Sam's Club and include a special DVD.

 

 

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