Before Jerome Bettis was establishing himself as a Hall of Fame running back, he was scared and struggling as a young boy in Detroit.

Bettis grew up around crime, gangs and drug use, and he was well aware of his parents' struggles to provide for the family. That combination of elements, he told Graham Bensinger in a recent interview, led to his and his brother's decision to sell crack.

"The mind-set 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,'" Bettis tells Bensinger. "So we said, 'You know what? Let's give it a shot.'

"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 said that his tough upbringing, and the pervasive dangers he faced, led him to use guns.

He now admits that when he was young, he shot at people -- a decision he thought was justified at the time.

"It's nothing that I ever wanted to glorify, because I know in retrospect that it was awful," Bettis says. "Here you are in a position to take someone's life, and that's never a good thing. ... It was the worst thing that I could've ever done.

"It was a bad decision, but it was the decision that I made and that I lived with at that moment."

Bettis will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame two weeks from now. His career features more than 10,000 rushing yards and six Pro Bowl appearances in 13 seasons.

When Bettis retired, he was the sixth-leading rusher in NFL history. The journey from his Detroit struggles to pro football success will surely be a focal point of his induction ceremony.

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