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For the record, Jerome Bettis is now an NFL free agent

Jerome Bettis celebrates

Jerome Bettis celebrates

Getty Images

The Steelers released their second all-time leading rusher on Tuesday.

And it received scant little notice.

The player in question? Halfback Jerome Bettis, who last played in an NFL game more than eight years ago in Super Bowl XL.

The move? Just record keeping, it appears.

The Steelers quietly released Bettis, former center Jeff Hartings, former offensive tackle John Jackson and former cornerback Fernando Bryant off of the reserve / retired list yesterday, according to the NFL’s transactions. (A hat tip to Mike Clay of Pro Football Focus for first bringing this to our attention; Howard Balzer of The Sports Xchange also noticed this.)

None of the retirees have recently appeared in an NFL game. Bryant retired in 2009, with Hartings retiring in 2007 and Jackson stepping away in 2003.

And that’s not it for reserve moves for Pittsburgh. The club also released offensive tackle Rashad Butler off of the reserve / left squad list on Tuesday. Butler had a short stint with the team before leaving the squad last December for personal reasons, per multiple reports.

So what’s the story here? A source with knowledge of the club’s decision-making told PFT the Steelers were simply getting the reserve lists in good order.

And that’s why “Bettis, Jerome” showed up in the NFL’s transactions one more time Tuesday.