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Jerome Bettis Gives Russell Wilson a Ringing Endorsement

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Steelers RB Jerome Bettis

After a tumultuous two-year tenure with the Denver Broncos, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Russell Wilson is heading into a make-or-break season in 2024. Wilson’s legacy is certainly at stake.

Wilson never meshed with Broncos head coach Sean Payton, but former Steelers running back and Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis thinks the nine-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion will excel under the tutelage of head coach Mike Tomlin and offensive coordinator Arthur Smith.

“He can play 100 percent. And he will be effective in this offense. He’s going to be good for this offense,” Bettis said during an appearance on The Joe Starkey Show Thursday morning.

Jerome Bettis thinks the Justin Fields factor could change the trajectory of Wilson’s redemption campaign, however.

“The only question is, what is the offensive game plan with two quarterbacks?” Bettis pondered. “What are you looking for, are you interested in finding out what both quarterbacks can do? Or is it just about who’s the best quarterback and we’re gonna play him and we’re gonna try to win a championship with the one person.”

If the Steelers go that route, Bettis thinks it would be a mistake. If they want to be true contenders, Wilson gives the Steelers the best chance to win a seventh Super Bowl title.

“If that’s the case, then Russell Wilson’s the guy, and trust me, he’s gonna be special,” Bettis said. “I really believe he has all the talent and the know-how the skill set to be big time and this offense can allow him to do that and it’s not gonna ask him to do a whole because you’re gonna be able to run the football.”

Bettis believes a strong running game will be beneficial to Wilson, and in turn, will open up the play-action passing game, which he excels at. Bettis declared that Wilson “definitely will be cooking” if he’s the starter.

Former Broncos cornerback Chris Harris didn’t cross paths with Wilson as a teammate, but he’s well-aware of what went wrong during Wilson’s two-year tenure in the Mile-High City.

Harris had a countering opinion in regards to Wilson fitting in a play-action attack. He thinks a spread offense would suit him better.

“(Russ) needs to be in a spread. Play-action offense didn’t suit him very well. It needs to be open, he needs to be able to see the field,” he told Dave Dameshek on the Minus Three Podcast.

Dameshek pushed back that with how things are set up in Arthur Smith’s offense, the Steelers are going to be a run-heavy, play-action team.

“So, are we saying essentially that he’s doomed to fail? Because they’re not going to do that,” Dameshek said. “Arthur Smith, hopefully, is nimble enough to see the pieces that he has, not the ones that he wants, but the ones they’re putting out there for him. And so, he’s got to modify things to Russell’s taste to some degree. But also they’re wired at this point. They just don’t have the pieces. I mean, Van Jefferson as your No. 2 is uninspired. No offense to you, Van Jefferson.”