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Zereoue not happy with demotion |

Zereoue not happy with demotion

| Thursday, October 23, 2003 12:00 a.m

Steelers running back Amos Zereoue was unhappy with his demotion, but he did feel a sense of relief when Jerome Bettis replaced him in the starting lineup.

“The positive thing about this situation now is I don’t have to worry about looking over my shoulder or worry about not doing this or not doing that,” Zereoue said.

The pressure is off Zereoue, who will share third-down duties with Verron Haynes on Sunday against the St. Louis Rams, according to Steelers coach Bill Cowher.

Zereoue was unable to fully relax in his six-game role as a starter, and he responded by averaging 3.3 yards per carry while never gaining more than 69 in any game. His longest run was 22 yards against the Kansas City Chiefs in the second week of the season.

“You are always looking over your shoulder, if you are a starter, especially if you just were named the starter and are backed up by a future Hall of Famer. Anytime, they can go to him.

“Now, I’m going to go out there and play ball like I know how to play ball and forget about everything else.”

Zereoue is hoping to make the best of this downturn in his career, but it’s not easy.

“I don’t know how to take it. How would you take it?” he asked a reporter. “I wasn’t laughing or smiling. It’s disappointing, but that’s what happened, so I have to deal with it. There was a reason why I was named the starter. I haven’t forgotten how to run the ball the last couple weeks.

“It’s a decision made from up top. I cannot agree with it, but at the same time, they pay me to go out there and play football. I just have to approach it as a professional.”

Zereoue said he hopes Bettis’ resurfacing in the starting lineup indicates a greater commitment to the running game.

“If you say you are going to run the ball, you have to go out there and run the ball,” he said. “If you say you are going to do anything, you have to go out there and do it. Hopefully, with Jerome being in there, they are going to decide to run a lot more than they did the past couple weeks.”

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