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Where was Franco Harris from? The Steelers icon’s hometown, college and career path to becoming a certified NFL legend

Franco Harris, the Hall of Fame running back who played all but one season for the Pittsburgh Steelers, has just passed away at the age of 72. His jersey was scheduled to be retired during halftime of the Week 16 game against the Los Vegas Raiders.

Harris is one of the greatest running backs of all time. Hailing from Fort Dix, New Jersey, the eventual Hall of Famer attended Pennsylvania State University for four years.

Unlike many of today’s NFL stars, Harris graduated with his degree. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Food Service and Administration.

Following his graduation, the Steelers selected him in the first round with the 13th overall pick. He would become a franchise icon for a franchise full of icons. He is perhaps best known for one of the most incredible plays in NFL history, the Immaculate Catch.

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When Harris retired, he was the third-best running back in the NFL, trailing only Walter Payton and Jim Brown.

During his Hall of Fame speech in 1990, he emphasized that every Steelers player was important. This reflected his humble nature despite being one of the best players in the league, according to ESPN:

“You see, during that era, each player brought their own little piece to make that wonderful decade a reality. Each player had their strengths and weaknesses, each their own thinking, each their own method, just each, each had their own But then it was amazing, it all came together and stayed together to forge the greatest team of all time.”

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It was this humble nature that made him a fan favorite and helped make him a Steelers legend.

Franco Harris career stats: How did the Steelers running back get into the Hall of Fame?

In 13 seasons, though his 13th lasted just eight games with a total of 170 yards, Franco Harris totaled an impressive 12,120 yards. That’s still good for 15th all-time.

Franco Harris has announced that the Steelers' draft picks recently
Franco Harris has announced the Steelers draft picks recently

He added 91 touchdowns during that time. Although running backs were barely a part of the passing game back then (ironic, given Harris’s role in the Immaculate Catch that started the Steelers’ dynasty), he had 2,287 passing yards and nine passing touchdowns in his career.

Edited by Zachary Roberts

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