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During his teenage years, Jerome Bettis was, as you'd imagine, a star for Mackenzie High School in Detroit. He played running back and linebacker for the football team there and eventually earned a scholarship to Notre Dame. But during a recent sit-down interview with Graham Bensinger, Bettis admitted that his life almost turned out much, much differently as a result of some poor choices that he made as a teen.
According to Bettis, he made the decision to sell crack when he was in high school. The future NFL player and his brother did it to try and make some money for their family.
"The mindset was, 'We're in the hood. Mom and Dad, they're working their butts off. There's no money around. We need to make some money.' So we said, 'You know what? Let's give it a shot,'" Bettis revealed. "And it was one of those moments that you regret, but at the moment, that was the only thing that was really available to us."
Bettis also revealed that, while selling drugs, he was forced to shoot at people. He didn't go into great detail about it, but he did say that it's not something he's proud of.
"That was part of growing up in our environment, in our neighborhood," he said. "That wasn't out of the realm of normal. When you go back, it's nothing I ever wanted to glorify, because I know in retrospect that it was awful. Here you are in a position to take someone's life, and that's never a good thing. And so as I look back on it now, I always see the wrongs that are in it and never want to bring light to it in that respect: that it was a good thing. It was the worst thing that I could've done."
You can watch Bensinger's entire interview with Bettis here. Towards the end, Bettis talks specifically about what made him want to stop messing around with the street life. He is set to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame next month.
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[via Detroit Free Press]