Jerome Bettis graduated from the University of Notre Dame nearly three decades after leaving school to pursue a career in the NFL. The former football running back graduated in May 2022 and shared his journey in a short documentary produced by NFL Films.



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“Hey mom, I finished. Just took the last final. Done!” he is heard telling his mother on the phone.

“It was one of those delivered on a promise made a whole lot of years ago. Just wish pops would have been here to see it,” he added, wiping a tear off his cheek. “I will be thinking about him when I walk across at the graduation.”

Bettis’ father passed away shortly after he won the 2006 Superbowl. 

“He would have been pumping his chest, so proud to see me get that diploma,” he said.



Bettis left Notre Dame after his junior season. He went on to play for the Los Angeles Rams and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“Coming in the stadium in a much different way this time,” he is heard saying as he walks out onto the field, in his cap and gown. “And man, does this feel good.”

Bettis gave a graduation speech, during which he addressed his mother sitting in the crowd.

“I have been waiting 28 years to celebrate this moment. I returned to finish my degree,” he said on stage. “Mom — promise made, promise kept.”

He noted that returning to school was a commitment he decided to pursue in honor of his family.

“Me getting a degree is not just for me,” Bettis said. “It was for my entire family.”