JEROME BETTIS (Courier File Photo)
PITTSBURGH (AP) – Former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis has bought three Papa John’s pizza outlets in the city.
Papa John’s announced the deal Thursday, saying Bettis is partnering with Bajco Group, which now owns 12 Papa John’s stores in the Pittsburgh area. Bettis and Bajco plan to open more outlets in the next couple of years.
Bettis was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams out of Notre Dame in 1993, but finished his career in Pittsburgh, where he helped the Steelers win Super Bowl XL before retiring.
“We are thrilled to partner with Jerome to purchase these restaurants,” said Nadeem Bajwa, CEO of Bajco Group. “Jerome is a fierce competitor with high integrity, and I’m proud to be his business partner. He is an iconic figure in Pittsburgh and I have no doubt these restaurants will do very well.”
Bettis’ involvement with Papa John’s dates to 2011, when he was featured in Papa John’s Super Bowl XLVI Coin Toss commercial with Schnatter and Denver Broncos quarterback and fellow Papa John’s franchisee, Peyton Manning.
“I’ve been a fan of Papa John’s for a long time and am excited to be a part of the team,” said Bettis. “I’ve always been a part of winning organizations and Papa John’s is no exception. I’m particularly impressed with the brand’s focus on quality and drive to be the best. I’m also impressed with John’s passion to continue growing the brand around the world.”
To celebrate this new partnership, all Pittsburgh-area Papa John’s restaurants will offer 36% off all menu prices when customers order online using promo code PJBUS36. This offer is good from Thursday, June 20 through Sunday, June 23, and will also be honored at the Papa John’s restaurants in the Johnstown, Pa. area, Youngstown, Ohio, and in South Bend, Ind. Bettis wore No. 36 with the Steelers and was nicknamed “The Bus.”
Bettis, who won a Super Bowl with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2006, ranks sixth on the NFL’s all-time rushing list with 13,662 yards and is one of six players in NFL history to rush for 13,000 yards. He is one of only eight players in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards for eight or more seasons. He ranks third in NFL history with 3,369 rushing attempts and was selected to the Pro Bowl eight times, including his rookie season, and has been a finalist on the Pro Football Hall of Fame list over the last three years. He was acknowledged by NFL for his charity work and named “2001 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year.”