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#pounditFriday, February 23, 2024

NFL legend Franco Harris dies — dead at 72

Franco Harris at the Hall of Fame

Aug 8, 2015; Canton, OH, USA; Franco Harris during the 2015 Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are mourning the loss of a legend, as Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris has died.

Harris’ son Dok told The Associated Press that Franco died early Wednesday morning. No cause of death was given.

Harris’ death comes just days before the Steelers were planning to retire his No. 32 jersey during their game against the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday night.

Best known for the role he played in “The Immaculate Reception,” Harris helped the Steelers win four Super Bowls in the 1970s.

The Steelers were trailing 7-6 in their 1972 playoff game against Oakland and facing facing 4th-and-10 from their own 40 with just 22 seconds remaining. Terry Bradshaw threw a desperation pass that deflected into the air when two players collided. Harris caught the ball just before it hit the turf and ran 45 yards for the game-winning touchdown.

The win was Pittsburgh’s first ever postseason victory.

Harris rushed for 12,120 yards during his 13 NFL seasons, 12 of which were spent with the Steelers. He made the Pro Bowl nine times and was named MVP of Super Bowl IX.

Harris rushed for a total of 354 rushing yards in his four Super Bowl appearances, which remains an NFL record. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990.

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