Bettis' days in Pittsburgh may be over

Updated: April 25, 2003, 1:32 PM ET
By By Darrell Trimble | NFL Insider
Coach Bill Cowher's offseason mantra regarding the future of Jerome Bettis has been consistent. Cowher insists that what happens on draft day will go a long way to deciding whether or not The Bus will run out of Pittsburgh for an eigth season.

The Steelers have the 27th overall in the draft, and on Thursday Cowher said he will consider drafting Penn State running back Larry Johnson. Such a move would spell the end for the town's most beloved player. The Steelers wouldn't draft Johnson if Troy Polamalu was available, as they covet the USC safety, but if Johnson is the highest rated player on their board come pick No. 27, there's a good chance he'll wind up in black and gold.

Larry Johnson
Johnson could be Steelers' pick.
Johnson would be a wise selection for the Steelers. Bettis, 31, has a cap number of $3.89 million and coming off the second worst rushing season in his illustrious career. Amos Zeruoue played well in relief, but it's unsure if he could take the pounding of being a feature back and the primary threat out of the backfield. Also, Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala has just one more year left on his contract.