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Pittsburgh Steelers to Retire Penn State Great Franco Harris’ No. 32

To celebrate the Immaculate Reception’s 50th anniversary, the Pittsburgh Steelers will retire the uniform number of Penn State great and NFL Hall of Famer Franco Harris at halftime of Pittsburgh’s Dec. 24 game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Acrisure Stadium.

Harris, who wore No. 34 in his time at Penn State (1969-71) but is more famous for wearing No. 32 in the NFL, will become the third official Steelers’ retired jersey, joining defensive linemen Ernie Stautner (70) and Joe Greene (75).

“I’m so thankful,” Harris told reporters. “I know this consideration was a tough one because there were a number of players that could have been honored.”

The Immaculate Reception, arguably the most famous play in NFL history, marked the Steelers franchise’s rise from a perennial punching bag to a perennial powerhouse.  

The play happened during Harris’s rookie season in 1972, and things only got better for Harris and the Steelers afterward.

Over the rest of the decade, the Steelers won four Super Bowl’s and Harris became a Hall of Fame back, ending his career with three All-Pro selections, nine Pro Bowls and more than 12,000 rushing yards. He spent all but one of his 13 NFL seasons in Pittsburgh before playing out the string with the Seattle Seahawks in 1984. 

At Penn State, Harris helped the 1969 team to a perfect 11-0 season and helped the Nittany Lions to an 11-1 campaign in 1971 that ended with a 30-6 Cotton Bowl thrashing of Texas. He finished his Penn State career with 2,354 total yards and 25 total touchdowns, impressing the Steelers enough to be selected in the first round (pick No. 13) of the 1972 NFL draft. 

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