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AMERICAN CENTURY CHAMPIONSHIP


July 16, 2015


Jerome Bettis

Tim Brown


STATELINE, NEVADA

THE MODERATOR:  Thanks for joining.  You're veterans of the event.  First the course is in great shape.  The weather is great.  Jerome, what's it like to be out here again.
JEROME BETTIS:  It's great every year to come out here.  One, you get to compete against yourself.  And that's something that as a retired athlete you don't get that opportunity to.  But you also get to compete against other guys that you're friends with and some other people you don't know.
You get to meet so many different athletes in so many walks of life.  It's just a great event and a great opportunity to really spend time with guys you normally don't get a chance to spend time with.

Q.  I've heard others say that it's the only thing that retired guys can do that is anywhere close to the camaraderie of the team locker room.
JEROME BETTIS:  It is.  You don't get that locker room feel doing anything anymore.  But now, when you come out here, everybody's under the same conditions.  Everybody's dealing with the same issues.
So there is the camaraderie.  When you come in, after the round, good or bad, you get a chance to chop it up with the guys and find out, hey, how did you play?  How did this treat you?  How was that hole?
And you get back into that mode of conversation, similar to what you used to do when we all played our respective sports.

Q.  Tim, your thoughts on being out here?
TIM BROWN:¬† You know, I always look forward to this.¬† I don't know how many years I've been coming.¬† I'm sure it has to be over 15 years I've been coming out here for this tournament.¬† So it's just been incredible for me to‑‑ I think I'm getting better every year.¬† But then my scores don't necessarily reflect that.
But certainly this is the first thing every year that I put on my calendar.  So from that standpoint, that's how important it is.

Q.  Tim, is there a special pride in carrying the Heisman into the hall, since I think there's only eight guys who have done that before?
TIM BROWN:  Yeah, it is.  I didn't realize that number until I was up for the first time years ago and someone told me that if I made it I would be only the eight, is it eight or nine?

Q.  I think you'll be the ninth.
TIM BROWN:  Yeah, I think I'll be the ninth.  So that's pretty special when you look at it.  There's many reasons why that's happened, but at the same time to be able to win a Heisman and have a very long career, end up in the hall of fame, is something to be very proud of it.  I put a lot of hard work.  My body is reflecting of that.  From that standpoint I'm happy to have the honor.

Q.  What's the one reason at the top of your list why there haven't been many Heisman Trophy winners making it to the hall?
TIM BROWN:¬† The Heisman is not a predictor of future success as far as the NFL goes.¬† It's a college award, and people have to realize that.¬† So I was very fortunate.¬† I could have very easily got slotted as a punt‑return, kick‑return guy and third‑down receiver.¬† As a matter of fact when I got hurt in'89 Al Davis said that I was going to play on punt return and be the third‑down receiver.¬† And for three years I did not play on first and second down.
So Mervyn Fernandez got hurt, and I had to start a game and had a great game, and the rest is history.  So that could happen to anybody who comes into the league.  These quarterbacks, they're used to doing a certain thing in college and they come to the league and all of a sudden it's a different system.  So it makes it very difficult to be the same person when you're not running the same plays.

Q.¬† Jerome, could you give this audience‑‑ I know you've given it to a bunch of audiences‑‑ the background on your mom and your brother being your presenter and some of the trials and tribulations?
JEROME BETTIS:¬† There was some question about who was going to present me into the hall of fame.¬† And there was two options.¬† Either my mother or my brother.¬† The first option would have always been my father.¬† But we lost him some years ago.¬† And so my mother has been dealing with a bout of breast cancer, and thankfully she's been given a clear‑‑ her body is clear of the cancer now and so we're very thankful for that.
And she's going through that journey with me.  I went through this journey with her.  So I was thinking that possibly I would want her to introduce me.
My brother came to me a while ago and asked if he could present me, and he wanted to for a couple of reasons.¬† One, he was a die‑hard Steelers fan growing up as a kid. ¬†I grew up a die‑hard Dallas Cowboys fan.
And so he always just idolized the Steelers.  And that had been going on since our childhood.  So this was that opportunity for him to kind of fulfill that childhood dream of being part of that Steeler nation.
And even bigger than that, he wanted to represent my father.  And he gave me a great point.  He says:  Dad and me, we have the same name.  I'm the third, he was a junior, but we've got the same name.  So in essence it would be the same person presenting you.
So he tried to go to my senses and actually it made a lot of sense that he should be the one to do it.  He's been my big brother, and he's been on this journey with me.
So this is an opportunity for me to share this moment with him and not the other way around.  It's not him having that moment.  It's me wanting him to have that moment.  And this was something that I felt was very deserving.

Q.  Tim, along those same lines, can you talk about the decision to have your presenter and tell people who your presenter is?
TIM BROWN:  For me it was pretty simple.  My brother, my older brother will be my presenter, my only brother.  He was the one who got me into the game.  He was the one who took me out when I was seven, eight years old, taught me how to catch the ball.  It was more of a torture session than a teaching session.
But still he got the job done.  And his passion for the game became my passion for the game.  And I don't think there's anybody who can tell my story better than me than him.
And so from that standpoint it was pretty simple for me to make that decision.

Q.  And just how special is it to go in as a Raider?
TIM BROWN:¬† I mean, you know, when you wear the silver and black, man, there's a lot that goes with that‑‑ a lot of trials and tribulations and a lot of ups and downs, and calls you're not going to get, calls you are going to get that you probably shouldn't get.
But at the end of the day you just want to be proud that you represented the silver and black as best as possible.  I was just down in the locker room and I was changing my head covers on my driver to a Raider head cover.  I was like, man, I must be a real Raider fan to be changing to a Raider head cover, just so they can get some pub or whatever.
So it's all good, man.  I love the silver and black and certainly love Raider Nation.  And wouldn't change it for anything.

Q.  You guys both had similar waits to get into the hall of fame.  How good did it feel to get that off your back?  And how happy were you for each other to both get in?
TIM BROWN:¬† It was great, obviously, to get the call.¬† The wait is tough, no doubt about it.¬† And the two years that they didn't put a receiver in was extremely tough for me.¬† You put Jerry Rice in and you put Cris Carter and put Andre in.¬† Some people may argue, but you can't argue‑‑ I couldn't argue with that fact.¬† But there were two years in between Jerry and Cris that they didn't put a receiver in.¬† That was tough.¬† That was really tough to take.¬† But once you get that call it's hard to remember.¬† It's hard to remember the wait.
So and certainly being able to share it with fellow Domer and guy I have great respect for is very, very special for me.  It just makes this whole deal just that much better.
JEROME BETTIS:  And for me, it was one of those moments where, again, like Tim said, you don't remember all the years that you didn't make it in.  And the saving grace in those times were that there were great players that were going in the hall of fame.  If there were some guys where you say, well, this guy shouldn't be in there, then, yeah, I would be very upset.
But there was never a case that that happened.  So you respect that all these guys deserve to be in and it was their time.  And you hoped that your time was coming.
When my time came, it was as if it was the first opportunity to get in.  And it's felt like that.  It's been tremendous so far.  And I'm sure enshrinement week is going to be amazing.  So I'm looking forward to that.
But I'm also looking forward to going in with Tim, and this tournament has been great because me and Tim, we had a relationship already, but this tournament has made our relationship better.  We've had a chance to play rounds together, talk more, spend more time together.  And our families have become closer.
So it's been an incredible part that this tournament has done for our relationship as well.  So I'm proud to be going in with Tim.
He was one of the greatest players to ever play at the University of Notre Dame.  So I'm just proud to be going in with him.

Q.  I've been asking this question to most of the players.  I asked you last year, Jerome, our series is what's in a number.  So my question is how did you get your number, and does it have any significance to you?
JEROME BETTIS:¬† I got my number‑‑ mine's pretty simple.¬† I didn't play football in middle school, Little League or anything like that.¬† So my first year they gave me 36 and that's been my number ever since.
When I went to Notre Dame, they didn't have 36 available.  So I couldn't take the 3 because the quarterback, Rick Mirer, had 3, so I took the 6, and then once I got in the NFL I returned back to 36.  So mine was pretty simple.  It was given to me so I stuck with it.
TIM BROWN:  Funny enough I wore 6 in high school.  I wore 6 in high school.  When I got to Notre Dame they assigned me81.  My rookie year in training camp I actually wore 85.  And I hated the number.  And I had to pay like $5,000 to get the 81 from a tight end.  But so we did that and moved on.  His wife wasn't happy because she had just got a very nice 81 diamond pendant.  She wasn't very happy with me, but it is what it is.

Q.  Jerome, when did you realize, when did you come to terms with the fact that your best chance at ever becoming a professional athlete was going to be in football and not bowling?
JEROME BETTIS:  I had to make that decision in the eighth grade.  It was a tough decision.  Because up until that point I was one of the top bowlers in the state in my age group.
I was on a traveling team.  I went all over the country representing Michigan in my age group.  So I was a really good young bowler.  And the only school that offered a scholarship, even a partial scholarship at that time, I was doing my research, was I think Ohio State.
So there wasn't many opportunities to go to college.¬† And that was my goal, to get to college.¬† So I changed my mind my senior year‑‑ my last year of middle school, my eighth grade year, and decided that I would try football my freshman year in high school and see how that went and see if that gave me an opportunity to get to college.
And as it turns out, I was a natural.

Q.  So your education really was your main motivation for football?
JEROME BETTIS:  Absolutely.  That was the only reason I played football was to try to get a college scholarship.

Q.  Did you basically hang up the bowling shoes then?
JEROME BETTIS:  I hung them up but recreationally I still get going.  A lot of times people, because they've heard that I play, they challenge me quite a bit.
So I've kind of won a couple bucks  (laughter) getting challenged.

Q.  When was the last time you played and what would you say, what would you estimate your average at these days?
JEROME BETTIS:¬† The last time I played‑‑ I go out with my family now.¬† That's pretty much the only time I bowl, is a family event.
Maybe a couple months ago.  Two or three months ago.  And I would say I probably average in the high 190s, low 200s.

Q.  Respectable?
JEROME BETTIS:  Respectable.

Q.  What size were you when you made that transition in, what was it, eighth grade?
JEROME BETTIS:  Eighth grade.  I was big.  I've always been big.  I was just big for eighth grade at the time.  (Laughter).

Q.  Joe Namath, I guess there's an article in ESPN The Magazine about how he's done some concussion treatments in hyperbaric chambers and he's gotten what he believes is some improvement, not that he had a big problem or anything like that.  Can you guys both address that a little bit, any concerns you might have?  Have you heard about Joe's treatment, anything like that?
TIM BROWN:  I haven't heard about Joe's specifically.  But I've heard about some athletes going into the hyperbaric chamber.  As far as I'm concerned, at this particular point, I don't have any issues that concern me in that manner.
So that doesn't mean that I'm not being preventive in things I may do in the future.
But it's something that's going to be in the back of every athlete's mind at this particular point.  If you played this game, especially if you played for a long time, and even if you didn't play that long.
I didn't have one documented concussion in my 17 years.  Now, I said documented.  So there were times I got off the ground and I didn't know where I was, but by the time of the sideline I was okay.  So from that standpoint, you just keep moving on and trying to live right, eat right, do the right things, take care of your body, man, and hopefully things will keep moving for you.
JEROME BETTIS:  Yeah, same regard.  I've paid attention to what's going on.  But I have not sought out any of the preventive measures.  If, in fact, there is an issue, then it's something I want to address.  But I am very conscious of that, and looking at potential symptoms, you know, if they ever arise.  I'm very, very conscious of that.  So I understand being a running back who was a pretty easy target, I wasn't hard to find, I took some shots.  I gave out a lot of shots.
But it was a lot of bell ringing, so to speak.  So some minor concussions, I would have to think.  So I'm definitely concerned and definitely watching.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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