Former Steeler running back and future Hall-of-Famer Jerome Bettis recently talked with SB Nation Pittsburgh about all things Pittsburgh football and his life away from the field since retiring following the Steelers' victory in Super Bowl XL. He also offered his assessment of where he thinks former coach Bill Cowher could be headed sometime soon.
Adam Bittner: How have your remained active since retiring from the Steelers? What sort of things have you found time from away from football and what has the transition been like from professional athlete to analyst?
Jerome Bettis: Staying active was the hard part. I had to force myself to start working out on a daily basis to avoid heavy weight gain. And since football I got married and started a family, so my free time is nonexistent. My transition from football player to analyst was difficult initially because it was tough to criticize my former teammates, but I soon figured out that this is my job and I have to be painfully honest regardless of who I am talking about.
AB: Could you discuss the Steelers' ground attack? What does it do well and what are some things it should work on? What are your thoughts on the work of Rashard Mendenhall?
JB: First of all, I am a fan of Mendenhall and was impressed at how he played when Ben Roethlisberger was out, but since the offensive line got banged up it's been a tough road! The offensive line will need to get healthy and improve to make a Super Bowl run.
AB: How do you feel Roethlisberger has handled his off-field issues over the last year?
JB: I think Ben handled his off-the-field issues very well. He was very open and willing to address any and all questions! He answered questions so much that the sportswriters awarded him with the Chief award (an award that goes to the one Steeler player every year who deals with the media the best).
AB: What do you consider the Steelers' biggest strength and biggest weakness as they enter the playoffs?
JB: I think the strength of this team is the wealth of experience and the mental and physical toughness they have shown, with their only weakness being the offensive line.
AB: Simply put, what do you think about the Steelers' Super Bowl chances and why?
JB: I think the Steelers have a great chance at winning a championship as long as they keep Ben and Troy Polamalu healthy.
AB: Speculation about your old coach Bill Cowher's future has popped up, again. What, if any, information can you share about where Cowher might be next season, and what he'll be doing?
JB: I think Bill Cowher will go to the Texans or the Giants, provided they don't make the playoffs. Compensation will be a big issue, considering the price tag for a championship-winning coach is very expensive!