PITTSBURGH — Najee Harris was emotional the entire week leading up to the Pittsburgh Steelers Week 16 game against the Las Vegas Raiders, following the news on Wednesday of the death of his good friend, legendary Steelers running back Franco Harris.
During the game broadcast, a special film room session between Najee and Franco broke down Harris’ Immaculate Reception, the 50th anniversary of which toke place on Friday.. Their special connection made Harris emotional during the game, and he felt the team delivered through their play for Harris on the night against the Raiders.
“I think this is a good win for the organization, but not only that, but this was a good win for Franco,” Najee Harris said. “For him and his family, this is a good way to end the night and go into Christmas. Coach T said we’re going to give the game ball to his wife. This is a good way for the night to end.”
After the game, Najee Harris said that Tomlin selected him to present the game ball from the Steelers’ 13-10 victory to Dana Harris, Franco’s widow. Their connection allowed for that to happen, and Harris honored Franco with some hard running in the last drive. Their overall bond made the night that much more special for Harris, who could see the final drive coming together as they were marching down the field.
“It was a special night for us,” Harris said. “I told you, he was dope, he was cool, he came to my charity events. We won this game for him tonight. It’s great for the organization. It means the world. I think I’m going to be the one to give his wife the game ball.”
Najee Harris and the connection he made with Franco is one of the many special friendships that the Hall of Famer made with current Steelers. If it is anything to take away from the game and the relationships they had, the emotions from tonight showcased just how influential Franco was in the Pittsburgh community and to the players. Mike Tomlin said that the Steelers could be a part of history, and that is exactly what happened.