Former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis celebrated his 43rd birthday at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH on Monday and during a talk with the local media while he was there, the newly elected Hall of Famer had some advice for the Cleveland Browns as it relates to their quarterback Johnny Manziel.
“Regardless of what you do, you can’t give up on (Johnny) Manziel,” said Bettis, according to Steve Doerschuk of The Canton Repository. “He’s shown the ability he can play. Now you have to develop him and develop his talent.”
Manziel really didn’t get a chance to show much of anything during his rookie season. He completed 18 of 35 passes for 175 yards with two interceptions in 79 snaps played. Maybe Bettis saw something in Manziel that we didn’t during that limited playing time. Maybe he was just trying to be nice when on Browns soil.
Even though the Browns have had their share of problems with players’ actions off the field, in addition to them turning over the coaching staff several times in the last several years, Bettis told Doerschuk that he sees the Cleveland organization as “being transitional, not dysfunctional.”
“Everyone has to get their start at some point. You’re just getting everyone started at the same point. That’s rare,” Bettis added. “You have a new head coach, a new general manager and a new owner relatively at the same time.”
Bettis, who loves to bowl, also talked Monday about how he almost wound up at Ohio State on a bowling scholarship instead of playing football at Notre Dame.
“It was only a partial scholarship, or I might have gone after it,” Bettis said.
The Hall of Fame apparently really rolled out the red carpet for Bettis on Monday as they surprised him with a birthday cake during his visit.
“Best birthday I ever had,” said Bettis.
Bettis will be formally enshrined into Canton as a member of the 2015 class in early August.
— Pro Football HOF (@ProFootballHOF) February 16, 2015