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Biden remembers Franco Harris as 'dear friend, a good man, and a great American'

President Biden called Pittsburgh Steelers great Franco Harris a “dear friend, a good man, and a great American” following Franco’s death on Wednesday at the age of 72.

In a statement on Wednesday, Biden shared how Harris, along with his Steelers teammates,  showed up unannounced to gift his two sons with signed footballs just days after his first wife and daughter were killed in an automobile accident in 1972, shortly after Biden was elected to the U.S. Senate.

“Busy with their own lives, they took the time to be with my boys, sign footballs, and then left with no publicity,” Biden said in his statement, noting that Steelers great Rocky Bleier also visited. “A small act of kindness that meant the world to us.”

Biden added that “countless families like mine that will remember [Harris] for all that he did to lift our spirits when we needed it – in the most quiet, personal, and American of ways.” 

“We don’t have to ask. We show up. We reach out. We share a compassion that is a source of our enduring strength as a nation,” Biden said. “May God bless, Franco Harris – a dear friend, a good man, and a great American.” 

Biden is among the number of prominent political figures who have offered their condolences on Harris’s passing, along with with Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) and Sen.-elect John Fetterman (D).

“Franco was a true legend and icon on and off the field. He was a truly selfless man,” Fetterman wrote in a tweet.  

“It was an honor to have gotten to know him over the years,” he added. “I will miss him dearly.”

Harris, who played college football at Penn State University, played a vital role in the Steelers’ dominance in the 1970s, using his hard-nosed style of running to help guide Pittsburgh to four Super Bowl victories.

He was named the most valuable player of Super Bowl IX in 1975, when the Steelers defeated the Minnesota Vikings. Harris rushed for a then-record 158 yards and one touchdown in the 16-6 victory. 

Harris is also known for his role in the “Immaculate Reception,” the famous play during the 1972 AFC Divisional Round playoff game against the then-Oakland Raiders, during which Harris caught a deflected pass to score a last-second, game-winning touchdown that propelled the team toward its championship dynasty.

In a statement, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league is “shocked” and “saddened” to learn of Harris’s passing. 

“He meant so much to Steelers fans as the Hall of Fame running back who helped form the nucleus of the team’s dynasty of the ’70s, but he was much more. He was a gentle soul who touched so many in the Pittsburgh community and throughout the entire NFL,” Goodell said in a statement. “He will forever live in the hearts of Steelers fans everywhere, his teammates, and the city of Pittsburgh.”

Source: The Hill

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