cover image The Bus: My Life In and Out of a Helmet

The Bus: My Life In and Out of a Helmet

Gene Wojciechowski, Jerome Bettis, , with Gene Wojciechowski. . Doubleday, $23.95 (216pp) ISBN 978-0-385-52061-4

The National Football League’s fifth all-time leading rusher tells of his journey from growing up on Detroit’s mean streets to playing for the 2006 Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers. As a child, Bettis wore nerdy glasses and preferred bowling. In high school, he began playing football, but also started running with a smalltime neighborhood gang that sold drugs and carried firearms. He credits his escape from crime to his high school coach and his parents for laying down the law as well as the shock of seeing a friend get shot. A highly recruited high school player, he played three years at Notre Dame before turning pro with the Rams (both L.A. and St. Louis). During the latter part of his 13-year career, he had to compete for playing time and deal with a litany of injuries. For his last pro football game, he returned triumphantly to Detroit, which hosted the 2006 Super Bowl. Writing in an easygoing, honest voice, Bettis gives readers a good look at the inside stories of college recruiting, professional contracts and the agony of NFL injuries. He also dishes out opinions on players, calling former Rams quarterback Jim Everett “soft as puppy fur” and Denver Broncos linebacker Bill Romanowski a “coward” who specialized in “cheap shots.” (Aug.)