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Walter Payton Man of the Year

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Walter Payton Man of the Year

Pittsburgh is known for its blue-collar mentality. It's a city where the ideals of commitment and hard work are ingrained into the psyche of its inhabitants. So it's only fitting then that the city's football team produce players who exemplify those qualities, including SteelersHall of Fame running back, Jerome Bettis.

Bettis got his start with the Los Angeles Rams, who drafted the talented Notre Dame running back with the tenth overall pick in the first round of the 1993 NFL Draft. From the get-go, Bettis proved his worth, compiling over 1,400 rushing yards in his rookie season, garnering Rookie of the Year honors and also earning his first of six career Pro Bowl selections. After a disappointing 1995 season, one in which Bettis rushed for only 637 yards, the now-St. Louis Rams dealt away their once promising running back to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

A change of scenery turned out to be the perfect remedy for Bettis, and the rejuvenated back showed the Rams, and the rest of the league, that the man nicknamed "The Bus" still had plenty of fuel left in the tank.

In his first season with Pittsburgh, Bettis ran for what was then a career-high 1,431 yards and earned the 1996 Comeback Player of the Year award. It was the first of six-straight 1,000-yard seasons for Bettis, who ended his career in Pittsburgh by helping the Steelers capture their fifth Super Bowl championship by beating the Seattle Seahawks, 21-10, in Super Bowl XL.

In his retirement, the Hall of Famer and 2001 recipient of the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award has found a new way to inspire others through the work of the Bus Stops Here Foundation. Looking to improve the quality of life for troubled and underprivileged inner-city youth, the Bus Stops Here Foundation provides financial resources and other recreational programs for youth to take part in. From computer engineering programs to reading classes, the foundation is designed with the purpose of enriching the lives, and future, of disadvantaged youth. For Bettis, the wheels on the bus continue to turn.

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