Pittsburgh Steelers legend and Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris is dead. Harris passed away on Tuesday at the age of 72.
The following day, after news of his death broke, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick paid tribute to Harris. Speaking to reporters in a press conference, Belichick remembered him as a player and person.
“Sad. I mean, there’s a legend,” Belichick said. “Great college player, maybe a little overshadowed by Lydell [Mitchell], but that’s a pretty good backfield. I was at Baltimore with Lydell. George Welsh was their position coach at Penn State, so talked about those guys quite a bit. Mitchell got a lot of the stats and publicity and all that at Penn State, but George always raved about Franco.
“He didn’t carry the ball as much and his hands, which one play kind of says it all on that one. So, he wasn’t fun to play against. I can tell you that. I was at Baltimore when we played him in the playoffs there in my first year. Yeah, this guy was a great player, a great person. It’s a big loss.”
A first-round draft pick by the Steelers in 1972, Harris won four Super Bowls with the organization. A nine-time Pro Bowler and member of the NFL’s Team of the 1970s, Harris ended his career with a one-year stint in Seattle in 1984. He was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1990.