"The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
If there is one man that quote describes perfectly, it would be Franco Harris.
Harris, who died on Wednesday at age 72, just days before the Steelers were to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Immaculate Reception and retire his No. 32 jersey, truly embodied that spirit.
He gave of himself and never asked for anything in return. He was kind and generous to those who had nothing to give back.
His manner of caring about others, of being kind, has never been more evident than now. The love, respect and admiration people had for Harris has been pouring out on social media, from former teammates, current Steelers players, United States leaders, organizations he was involved with and people who simply thought the world of him.
This is just a sampling of how Harris touched so many.
Franco Harris is known for the glory he brought to football. 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.— President Biden (@POTUS) December 21, 2022
May God bless Franco Harris, a dear friend of 50 years and a great American. pic.twitter.com/YhOYr3a4IM
I grew up watching Franco Harris, and had the honor of getting to know him years later. He was an extraordinary man on and off the field, and will be missed. Our thoughts go out to his family and all of Steeler Nation.— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) December 21, 2022
Woke up this morning to the devastating news that my friend Franco Harris passed away during the night. One of the kindest, gentlest men I have ever known. He was a great person & great teammate. Hall of Fame player but so much more than that. A tremendous role model for me! pic.twitter.com/OswJ82x7I1— Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) December 21, 2022
Words can’t begin to describe the pain I am feeling. Franco will always be a brother, mentor and my definition of greatness. He was a legend on the field and the personification of excellence off of the field– A true class act to look up to and aspire to be like. RIP #32 🙏🏿 pic.twitter.com/WOYU4qCZDP— Jerome Bettis (@JeromeBettis36) December 21, 2022
We have lost an Icon in Franco Harris. He embodied Pgh in his Grace, Humility, & Sense of Pride. He was a Champion on the Field & Ambassador off it. Thank you Franco for setting the standard that we all strive to achieve as a Professional & as a Person. RIP & condolences to Dana. pic.twitter.com/3GtCgOpeOW— Bill Cowher (@CowherCBS) December 21, 2022
To the man who announced me as a Pittsburgh Steeler, May you Rest in Peace. Very thankful for our friendship and you always being there for me when I needed it. Penn State and Steeler Legend forever. May your legacy live on forever. RIP 32.🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/95ajLaiD7M— Pat Freiermuth (@pat_fry5) December 21, 2022
As great of a player Franco Harris was and making the greatest play in NFL History, he was a better human--and that is what I will miss.— Merril Hoge (@merrilhoge) December 21, 2022
He is the centerpiece of a city and a franchise that will never forget him. Love you Franco, RIP! pic.twitter.com/3b43nwEOSy
At a loss after hearing the news this morning. Franco, first off, I love you. Thank you for being the constant rock in my life. I truly appreciate you showing me how to be the best person I could be, not only on the football field but off the field. You will be missed. #RIP😢 pic.twitter.com/oPb9Pl9maR— Charlie Batch (@CharlieBatch16) December 21, 2022
When I tell you that Mr. Harris was not only one of the nicest and welcoming sports legends I’ve ever met, but one of the greatest humans I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. The world has lost a great ambassador for football and humanity. #RIPFranco #SteelersNation pic.twitter.com/8LdrGYI6er— Trai Essex (@TraiDay79) December 21, 2022
We are heartbroken to hear about the passing of 4x Super Bowl Champion, Hall of Famer and the man behind the "Immaculate Reception,” Franco Harris.— NFL (@NFL) December 21, 2022
Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones during this difficult time. Franco's legacy and impact will live on forever. pic.twitter.com/tmmQKo6IJ8
"The Saint Vincent community cherishes our long friendship with Franco Harris. As we all mourn this loss, we offer sympathies and prayers to his wife, Dana; the Harris family; and the Steelers organization. We commend him to our loving Savior."— Saint Vincent College (@MySaintVincent) December 21, 2022
- Fr. Paul Taylor, President pic.twitter.com/vU1gO4n1jp
We are saddened to hear the sudden loss of one of own. Franco Harris has always embodied what it means to be a Nittany Lion. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends through this time 💙— Penn State Athletics (@GoPSUsports) December 21, 2022
🔗: https://t.co/54SkP9A8XD pic.twitter.com/lIZETqm5JU
The College Football Hall of Fame is saddened to hear of the passing of Penn State Nittany Lions and Pittsburgh Steelers legend Franco Harris. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and fans everywhere. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/3LmMwG9MP6— College Football Hall of Fame (@cfbhall) December 21, 2022
Very sad to hear about the passing of @francoharrishof. Our teams had some competitive contests. I got to know Franco even better after we retired. Franco was a happy, intelligent, fair-minded man. I’ll miss him and our chats greatly. RIP my friend 🙏 pic.twitter.com/5kA3QXQsvA— Larry Csonka (@Larry_Csonka39) December 21, 2022
Truly heartbreaking news this morning about the death of @francoharrishof— Tony Dorsett (@Tony_Dorsett) December 21, 2022
A true warrior on the field and a great man off the field. My prayers are with his family dealing with this unexpectedly tragedy. Rest easy, my brother. pic.twitter.com/VPcWtA5DPH
We are shocked and saddened at the passing of Steelers legend Franco Harris. For all of his amazing accomplishments on the field, we appreciated even more the kindness and humility he displayed off of it. We hope his family finds peace and comfort in the coming days and weeks. pic.twitter.com/4WVrYwpWXp— Pittsburgh International Airport (@PITairport) December 21, 2022
Long live the Legend Franco Harris. Franco is Pittsburgh! I’m honored to have known him. Sending love and prayers to his family and the community 🙏🏽— James Conner (@JamesConner_) December 21, 2022
i met Franco Harris. it was at a very young age in my football career. he said to me i have what it takes to be a great football player. im just grateful he took the time to say something to encourage me to become a better person + player. Thank you 🐐.— Darrelle Revis (@Revis24) December 21, 2022
rest in paradise. #32 pic.twitter.com/VIeZRQVYvs
We join the Pittsburgh community in expressing our condolences to the friends and family of accomplished athlete and Steel City icon, Franco Harris. Pictured: Former PSO Music Director, Mariss Jansons with Franco Harris celebrating a Steelers Super Bowl win. pic.twitter.com/V5EMH0ey3u— Pittsburgh Symphony (@pghsymphony) December 21, 2022
Saddened by the news of the passing of legendary @steelers & @ProFootballHOF running back, Franco Harris, pictured in this 2006 @MLB All-Star Game photo. He was a true gentleman! Standing (l-r): Ernie Banks, me, Franco & Harmon Killebrew. Seated: Don Motley & Buck O’Neil. RT pic.twitter.com/Af0a3OAelx— Bob Kendrick (@nlbmprez) December 21, 2022