Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: Dec. 27

Let's get to it:

TREVOR DANIELL FROM CHANDLER, AZ: Connor Heyward seems to come up big in a lot of clutch situations for the Steelers, yet I rarely ever notice him on the field. What is his overall snap count and stats for the season so far?
ANSWER: Connor Heyward has played in all 15 regular season games so far in his rookie season, and he has 9 catches in 13 targets as a receiver for 106 yards, with 1 touchdown and 4 of his catches being good for first downs. He has one carry for 21 yards. He is tied-for-third on the team with 8 tackles on special teams. Heyward has played 137 snaps on offense and 256 snaps on special teams.

DILLON GARRETT FROM TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA: I feel it was shameful that all week Franco Harris' jersey retirement was being promoted only to have NFL Network cut to a commercial break during the video tribute. Will the Steelers make this video available for fans to watch online?
ANSWER: The complete video of the halftime ceremony during which Franco Harris' No. 32 officially was retired is currently available for fans to view on Go to the home page, and across the top NavBar you will see a link labeled "VIDEO." Click on that link and you'll be taken to a page listing the most recent videos available. On that page is the link to the video of the halftime ceremony.

BOB WALKER FROM BRENTWOOD, TN: After all its hype, it was shameful for NFL Network to go to commercial during Franco Harris' halftime tribute. But thanks to the Steelers for carrying it all on their website. A very nice tribute by the Steelers organization for a first-class player and person.
ANSWER: And for any fans yet to see the video of the halftime ceremony, the way to access it is explained in the previous answer in this installment of Asked and Answered.

HOWARD BURG FROM FLUSHING, NY: Now that the Steelers retired Franco Harris' No. 32, does this open the door for more jerseys to be retired. Being that Steelers said that Joe Greene's No. 75 jersey was going to be the only one.
ANSWER: Whoa, whoa, whoa. The Steelers never ever said Joe Greene's No. 75 was going to be the "only one." What Steelers President Art Rooney II did say when he announced the pending retirement of Franco Harris' No. 32 was "You know, we've taken our time doing this over the years, and so I don't expect to be doing it very often. I think it'll still be a rare occasion. And as Franco said, it's hard to make the decision because we do have many players who are deserving. So, we'll just keep taking our time with it. Given this is the 50th anniversary of the greatest play in NFL history and Franco made the play, it's the appropriate time to do Franco's number. Then, we'll probably take our time making decisions on the rest."

TIMOTHY JAMES FROM NEW ALBANY, IN: Where can we get the 50th Anniversary patch of the Immaculate Reception?
ANSWER: The 50th Anniversary patch only was available on the jerseys sold through the Steelers Pro Shop. The patch was not sold separately.

RICHARD ROTH FROM SHILLINGTON, PA: For the past several years, I've always been curious about why players like Cameron Heyward, who are being rested by coach's decision, are listed on the injury report? Same with players who are listed for personal reasons.
ANSWER: Yet another of those pesky rules questions. All players who miss practice or a portion of practice, for any and all reasons, are to be listed on the practice report along with the reason why the player missed all or part of practice.

KEN SAGNUOLO FROM ESSEX, VT: I'm 92 years old and have been a fanatic Steelers fan since 1958. Lived and died with them every game. Do you think (other than Ben Roethlisberger) we will ever have a quarterback as tough and gutsy as Bobby Layne?
ANSWER: With the way the rules are "enforced" in today's NFL, there is little need for quarterbacks to be tough in the way Bobby Layne and other quarterbacks in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s were tough.

DALE SANTEE FROM CHULA VISTA, CA: Why did Franco Harris leave Pittsburgh for Seattle? Wasn't the thought in Pittsburgh to ensure he broke the NFL's all-time rushing record?
ANSWER: Leading up to training camp in 1984, the Steelers were in negotiations with Franco Harris' agent on a contract extension that would have ensured he eventually retired as a member of the Steelers. Harris actually had an option year for 1984 on his previous contract, and the Steelers' policy was to negotiate extensions or new deals during the player's option year while the player continued to participate in team activities. Based on his agent's advice, however, Harris did not report to training camp in a misguided attempt to force the Steelers' hand, and when he didn't report to training camp the Steelers halted negotiations. Things turned acrimonious, and the Steelers placed Harris on waivers on Aug. 20, 1984. Harris subsequently signed with the Seattle Seahawks.

In his 2007 book, "Dan Rooney: My 75 Years with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the NFL," Dan Rooney wrote, "I'll always regret that (Harris') career didn't end in Pittsburgh. He played one season for the Seattle Seahawks after we couldn't come to terms on his contract. Looking back on it now, I wish I'd taken money out of my own pocket to seal the deal."

MARK PIFER FROM JEANNETTE, PA: I remember a good offensive lineman named Bruce van Dyke from the early 1970s. When did he leave the Steelers? Was he traded or did he retire?
ANSWER: Bruce Van Dyke came to the NFL in 1966 as a 15th round draft pick of the Philadelphia Eagles, and then he was traded to the Steelers in 1967. Van Dyke played seven seasons for the Steelers during which he appeared in 95 regular season games, including 93 starts at right guard. In 1972, Van Dyke was voted the Associated Press Offensive Player of the Week following the team's 40-17 win over Cincinnati in which the Steelers rushed for 230 yards and 2 touchdowns. Van Dyke was voted to the Pro Bowl in 1973. In 1974, Van Dyke was traded to Green Bay, and he retired from football after the 1976 season.

JIM ILLER FROM BROKEN ARROW, OK: I noticed a No. 3 sticker on the back of the Steelers helmets on Saturday night. What is that for?
ANSWER: The No. 3 sticker on the back of the Steelers' helmets is a remembrance of Dwayne Haskins, who died on April 9, 2022.

NICK MITCHELL FROM GLEN-LYON, PA: I recently got the news about Franco Harris. RIP to one of the greatest Steelers players of all time. Can you please give me his stats as a running back?
ANSWER: Franco Harris played 13 NFL seasons, 12 of which for the Steelers, and he finished his NFL career with 12,120 rushing yards, and all but 170 of those came with the Steelers. For Pittsburgh, Harris had 2,881 carries for 11,950 yards, a 4.1 average, and 91 touchdowns. He also caught 306 passes for another 2,284 yards and 9 touchdowns. In 17 playoff games for the Steelers during the 1970s decade when the team won 4 Super Bowls, Harris had 384 carries for 1,488 yards (3.9 average) plus 36 catches for 402 yards, and 17 total touchdowns. To summarize, and to lend evidence to Harris being the consummate big-game performer, in the 17 playoff games over an 8-season span during the 1970s that resulted in 6 trips to the AFC Championship Game and 4 Super Bowl victories, Harris scored 17 touchdowns.

VINCE SCOTTI FROM COLUMBIA, SC: I read somewhere that a person dies twice. Once when he/she stops breathing. That person then lives on until the last person who remembers him/her dies. By that account, Franco will just about be immortal. Thank you, Franco.
ANSWER: Good point by you.

TIM KYLE FROM ROSEPINE, LA: I don't have a question, but I wanted to point out something a little weird and inexplicable but very meaningful to Steelers Nation. On the Steelers first defensive play from scrimmage during the Dec. 24 game against the Raiders, the tackle was made by Larry Ogunjobi on the 32-yard line. The Steelers' last meaningful offensive play was a 14-yard touchdown pass for the win with 46 seconds left. Forty-six minus 14 equals 32. Many will say this is coincidental, but Franco Harris' presence was real on the field that night.
ANSWER: Who am I to argue with science?

PATRICK BRIGHT FROM MENDOZA, ARGENTINA: You wrote, "Franco Harris died on Wednesday, Dec. 21, and the world immediately became a lesser place." Yep, that sums it up.
ANSWER: Thank you.