Oct. 8, 2007
IOWA CITY — Determined. Reliable. Resourceful. Versatile. Joe Gibbs, head coach of the NFL’s Washington Redskins, could, if asked, use any of these adjectives to describe Ladell Betts, his No. 2 running back and the second most productive rusher in the history of football at the University of Iowa.
A second round selection of the Redskins in the 2002 NFL Draft, Betts had a pretty typical day yesterday in Redskins’ 34-3 thrashing of Detroit on FedEx Field in suburban Washington D.C. The hard-nosed native of Blue Springs, Mo., gained 22 yards on eight carries. Two of those runs netted first downs for the home team. Betts also had a pair of receptions for eight more yards.
Betts’ biography on the Redskins’ official world wide web site sums up the reasons why the former Hawkeye is firmly entrenched in the NFL: Betts is a powerful back who emerged as a top running back in 2006. He recorded career highs with 1,154 rushing yards on 245 carries, along with four touchdowns. Though backing up Stephen Davis in his rookie season in 2002 to backing up Clinton Portis the last three years, Betts has appeared in 64 games and started 11 during his career with 2,425 yards on 556 carries and nine touchdowns. He is also a deft pass catcher out of the backfield, snagging 105 passes for 952 yards and two TDs.
Betts was rock-steady as a Hawkeye and among the upperclassmen who set the bar and lay the foundation for the success Iowa would enjoy shortly after his graduation. A four-year letterman, Betts accumulated 3,686 yards on the ground on 831 carries – both numbers rank second in UI history. In fact, Betts and Sedrick Shaw, Iowa’s all-time leading rusher with 4, 156 yards on 837 carries, are the only UI players to have more than 532 carries.
Betts’ Redskins sit a 3-1 in the NFC East, one-half game behind the unbeaten Dallas Cowboys who play at Buffalo on Monday Night Football. Washington plays at Green Bay on Sunday.
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