Franco Harris’s number is officially retired by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
For months, the Pittsburgh Steelers had been planning to retire the number of Harris, a Penn State and NFL legend who passed away unexpectedly Tuesday night at the 72, on Christmas Eve to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Harris’s “Immaculate Reception,” which took place Dec. 23, 1972.
Team owner Art Rooney III officially retired No. 32 on behalf of the Steelers organization, with Harris’ widow, Dana Dokmanovich, and his son, Dok, at center stage.
“It wasn’t supposed to be like this,” Rooney told the Acrisure Stadium crowd. “The big man was supposed to be standing right next to me.”
Rooney went on to thank Harris’s widow and son for “sharing Franco with us for 50 years.”
He then told the crowd that No. 32 was “officially retired,” and the fans cheered, with many chanting “Fran-co! Fran-co!” Several of Harris’s Steeler teammates were on the field for the ceremony, including Hall of Famers “Mean” Joe Greene and Mel Blount. Harris himself is a Hall of Famer. One of the biggest stars on Steelers teams that had plenty of them, Harris won four Super Bowls with the Steelers, made nine Pro Bowls and an All-Pro team. Before that, Harris played at Penn State from 1969-71. Harris was a star in the early years of the Joe Paterno era. He helped Penn State to an undefeated season in 1969, rushing for 643 yards, 10 touchdowns and 5.6 yards per carry as part of a dominant backfield with Lydell Mitchell and Charlie Pittman. Over the next two years, Harris and Mitchell became the most famous rushing duo in Penn State history.Both went on to have successful careers in the NFL, especially Harris.
Watch Harris’ jersey retirement here.
An emotional moment in Pittsburgh as Franco Harris' #32 jersey is officially retired. 🙏 pic.twitter.com/cpbufU6qgG
— NFL (@NFL) December 25, 2022