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Franco Harris reminisced about ‘Immaculate Reception’ on current Steelers player’s podcast hours before death

Franco Harris died earlier this week just days before his number will be retired as the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrate the 50th anniversary of the “Immaculate Reception.”

Hours before his death, the legendary running back was doing several interviews to speak about arguably the most famous play in the history of the National Football League.

One of his final interviews, ni which he discussed the upcoming ceremony, was with current Steelers defensive lineman Cam Hayward on his “Not Just Football” podcast, which took place Tuesday afternoon.

The two discussed how excited Harris was for the ceremony, while the Super Bowl IX MVP reminisced about the play, although admitting he didn’t remember much.

“Fifty years. I just shake my head. 50 years. C’mon, that’s a long time, but I’m still around to enjoy it, so that’s good,” Harris said. 

Hayward said he received a blessing from Harris’ family to post the interview. 

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Franco Harris carries the ball against the Denver Broncos circa mid-1970s at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh. Harris played for the Steelers from 1972-83.


The Steelers were set to retire Harris’ No. 32 on Sunday at Pittsburgh’s Acrisure Stadium and celebrate the 50th anniversary of his catch, which came against the Oakland Raiders in the 1972 AFC divisional playoffs during his rookie season.

“Art [Rooney] broke the news to me. I was just totally taken by surprise,” Harris said of when he was told about his number retirement. “I said, ‘What an honor to have my jersey retired.’ And then all the connections to it. That we’re going to retire it on Dec. 24. And also a Raider game we’re going to retire it. I mean, it is an incredible honor. The third jersey in 90 years of Steelers football. And the first offensive player.”

Harris also was on SiriuxXM with Chris “Mad Dog” Russo on Tuesday to speak about the ceremony and reception.

“Doing great, fantastic,” Harris replied when Russo asked him how he was feeling. “And as you said, 50 years ago, and it feels brand new.”

Franco Harris eludes a tackle as he runs 42 yards for a touchdown after catching a deflected pass during an AFC playoff game in Pittsburgh on Dec. 23, 1972.

Harris’ family announced his death on Wednesday morning.

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