Steelers Players, Coaches Past And Present React To Death Of Franco Harris (Updating)

The Pittsburgh Steelers family and the NFL world were dealt a sudden, shocking blow Wednesday morning as Steelers legend and Pro Football Hall of Famer Franco Harris died overnight at 72 years old, according to multiple reports.

Harris was set to be honored Saturday at Acrisure Stadium as the Steelers announced they were going to retire his No. 32, making him just the third player in franchise history alongside former teammate Joe Greene and former defensive lineman Ernie Stautner. The jersey retirement would be in addition to the Steelers celebrating the 50th Anniversary of arguably the greatest play in NFL history, that being the Immaculate Reception against the then-Oakland Raiders on Dec. 23, 1972.

That play came near the tail end of Harris’ rookie season, which changed the Steelers franchise forever.

A first-round draft pick in 1972 out of Penn St., Harris became one of the great players at his position in NFL history and served as a focal point for a dynastic Steelers team throughout the decade. A four-time Super Bowl champion, a nine-time Pro Bowler, a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and author of the most iconic play in football history, his legacy was set to be honored this weekend.

December 23 marks the anniversary of the play voted on as the greatest in NFL history, the Immaculate Reception, a game-winning Divisional Round touchdown over the Oakland Raiders in 1972 that marked the Steelers’ first postseason victory in franchise history.

Following news of his shocking death, many Steelers — past and present — reacted to the somber news of a Steelers legend gone far too soon, and just days away from his jersey retirement, from the likes of Jerome Bettis, Pat Freiermuth, and Ramon Foster, to Tony Dungy, Vince Williams, Bill Cowher and more.

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