It always seemed like Franco Harris was everywhere, and it seems he was everywhere to the point where the president called President Joe Biden released a statement on Wednesday in memory of legendary Steelers running back Franco Harris. The two go back as many as 50 years.
“Franco Harris is known for the glory he brought to football,” Biden said. “But I knew him for his character and compassion – someone who spent time with my boys after we lost my first wife and infant daughter. May God bless Franco Harris, a dear friend of 50 years and a great American.”
It turns out that story between Biden and Harris started shortly after the Immaculate Reception. Biden’s first wife and infant daughter were tragically killed in a car accident. His two young sons, Beau and Hunter, were 3 years old and 4 years old, respectively, and were rushed to the hospital. Biden did not leave their side often, but he did once, and when he returned, he was greeted by Rocky Bleier and Franco Harris himself after Art Rooney Sr. flew them out.
“Busy with their own lives, they took the time to be with my boys, sign footballs, and then left with no publicity,” Biden wrote. “A small act of kindness that meant the world to us.”
Biden wants people to remember Harris not by what he did on the football field, even though he was great there, but by what he did off the field. It was the act of kindness that Biden saw from Harris that he hopes can reverberate from his life.
“I know there will also be countless families like mine that will remember him for all that he did to lift our spirits when we needed it – in the most quiet, personal, and American of ways,” Biden wrote. “We don’t have to ask. We show up. We reach out.”
Biden last saw Harris while campaigning in Pittsburgh and Latrobe in 2020. Their friendship spanned the course of fifty years and was promoted by the kind act Harris did for the Biden family.