Hall of Famer expands on belief in Steelers' Russell Wilson

hall of famer expands on belief in steelers' russell wilson

Russell Wilson.

Earlier this month, Pittsburgh Steelers legend and Hall of Fame running back Jerome Bettis insisted that current Pittsburgh quarterback Russell Wilson "can still play 100 percent" after Wilson flopped across the past two seasons with the Denver Broncos.

Bettis again touched upon the topic during a chat with Scott Thompson of Fox News Digital.

"I think when you look at Russell Wilson and his career, just go back a year ago," Bettis said. "Obviously, his departure from Denver, he was playing really good football. Two years ago, maybe not so much. But last year, he was able to right the wrongs, he was able to really go out there and lead that football team. When he had those opportunities, he made good by them."

According to Pro-Football-Reference, Wilson finished the 2023 regular season ranked eighth in the NFL among qualified players with a 98.0 passer rating. While he was also tied for 23rd with a 43.3% passing success rate, he did toss 26 touchdown passes with only eight interceptions across 15 games.

Bettis and others think Wilson can thrive playing in what should be a run-heavy offense coached by coordinator Arthur Smith.

"So, that tells me that if you put a good system around him, you put some good football players around him, he’s going to be successful," Bettis continued while speaking about Wilson. "That’s the promising part of all of this — he’s a quality quarterback. That’s really the only piece the Steelers were really missing was the quarterback play. You put that in the fold, now you got a championship-quality football team. That’s what I believe."

Pittsburgh signed Wilson in March but then traded with the Chicago Bears for 25-year-old quarterback Justin Fields. Though Fields said earlier this week that he and Wilson are "definitely competing" for the starting job heading into the summer, Wilson reportedly has a strong grip on the gig.

"They got a really good defense, and I expect them to be playing at a high level," Bettis added about the 2024 Steelers. "Offensively, if you can score points, you’re going to be a tough team to beat."

This past season, career-backup quarterback Mason Rudolph guided Pittsburgh to wins from Week 16 through Week 18 to secure a playoff berth for the club. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin clearly hopes Wilson proves to be an upgrade over Rudolph for the bulk of the upcoming campaign.

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