Tuesday, July 6, 2004

PITTSBURGH (AP) --

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis acknowledged Tuesday limited partnership in a company seeking to build a $500 million horse racing track and slots parlor.

Last week, the NFL said it wanted to talk to Bettis about his ties to the project.

Bettis, in a statement, said he appeared in Harrisburg last week with developer C.J. Betters as lawmakers were considering legalizing slot machines. He's a partner in Betters' Pittsburgh Development Group II, and sees the proposed track and parlor in Hays as a good business opportunity.

"As the Hays development project continues, my advisers and I will monitor the activities of PDG II, and should my involvement present a conflict with the NFL rules, I will take whatever actions [are ] appropriate to assure compliance with those rules," Bettis said in the statement reported on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Web site.

Last week, NFL officials said they learned Bettis had a connection to the proposed track and wanted to speak with him about it. The NFL policy on gambling prohibits players from advertising or promoting activities "that can reasonably be perceived as constituting affiliation with or endorsement of gambling."

On Monday, Gov. Ed Rendell signed a bill authorizing 61,000 slot machines at 14 sites across the state.

Bettis is heading into his 12th NFL season and needs 907 yards to move into fourth place on the career rushing list. His agent, Lamont Smith, didn't immediately return phone calls to The Associated Press on Tuesday.