1. Jerome Bettis
Tenure with the LA Rams: 1993-1995
I remember the first time that I learned Jerome Bettis started his career with the LA Rams. Bettis was a Pittsburgh Steeler for my entire life, so when I found out that he started his career I was shocked. Ram fans in the mid-90s were probably shocked that the team let him go as well.
It is not like Bettis was unproductive with the Rams during his three-year tenure and then the Steelers struck gold. Bettis was a Pro Bowler and an All-Pro in his first season and was a Pro Bowler again in his second season.
The reason why Bettis is an all-time Steelers great and not an all-time Rams great is because of one man: Rich Brooks.
Brooks took over the Rams in 1995 when they moved to St. Louis and the playbook went from being running-oriented to pass-oriented. The Rams were better than the year prior, going from 4-12 to 7-9, but Bettis’ numbers were down and led to the eventual separation.
Bettis was given an ultimatum: move to the fullback position or be traded. Bettis opted to be traded, and the rest is history with the Steelers. He was an All-Pro in his first season in Pittsburgh, made three Pro Bowls, played another 10 years and won a Super Bowl.
Four years later the Rams would make up for their terrible decision at running back by bringing in three-time Pro Bowler Marshall Faulk, who is now remembered as a Ram, not a Colt. However, you still cannot help but wonder what Bettis could have been with a longer tenure on the Rams.