NFL news of December 2, 2002

Playing the second half with a broken nose, Pittsburgh’s Jerome Bettis gained 86 yards on 20 carries to reach 11,459 yards for his career and pass John Riggins for 10th on the career list.

“What can you say about Jerome,” Steelers coach Bill Cowher said. “He’s a Hall of Fame running back.”

To Bettis, outgaining Riggins, who played 14 seasons for the Jets and Redskins, was something he never envisioned when he left Notre Dame in 1993, certain he would be a blocking back in the NFL.

“He was a big back and when you look at big backs, that’s one you circle,” the 256-pound Bettis said of Riggins. “He had the biggest production, so he’s the guy. As a big man, it’s hard to get the longevity to be able to get those numbers.”

Up next at No. 9 on the career list is Thurman Thomas at 12,074 yards.

—The St. Petersburg Times “Bettis passes Riggins: 10th in rushing”

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