Jerome “The Bus” Bettis has shown that a dream deferred doesn’t mean a dream denied.
Back in 1993, Bettis left the University of Notre Dame to enter that year’s NFL Draft, where he was drafted to the St. Louis Rams — going on to later play for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1996 until 2005 — per NFL.com. Three decades later, the former NFL star returned to the University of Notre Dame to work out unfinished business.
At age 50, Bettis graduated from the university in 2022 as it was a promise that he made to his late father, Johnnie Bettis, and mother, Gladys Bettis, almost 30 years ago.
Now, NFL Films Presents has documented Bettis’ experience and journey. His emotional response to earning his degree and sharing the news with his mom as gone viral.
“Hey mom, I finished,” Bettis told his mother during a phone call, per NFL Films Presents. “Just took the last final. Done! It was one of those delivered on a promise made, a whole lot of years ago…Just wish pops would’ve been here to see it,” he added. “I will be thinking about him when I walk across [the stage] at the graduation.”
Gladys shared, “He said, ‘Mama, I did it.’ All I could think about was his dad. He would be totally happy.”
The outlet also reported that Bettis’ achievement came after he initially returned to the University of Notre Dame during the NFL’s 1996 offseason to earn more credits. That decision to return to school was prompted by career uncertainty during his time with the St. Louis Rams.