As the football world mourns the passing of Pittsburgh Steelers legend Franco Harris, former president Barack Obama and current POTUS Joe Biden also gave their tributes to the icon and reflected on the major impact he had on them.
Harris passed away on Wednesday at the age of 72. No official cause of death was revealed, though his son stated that the Steelers icon died overnight.
Tributes quickly poured for Harris, who is best remembered for the Immaculate Reception. Obama, for his part, shared how he grew up watching the legendary quarterback before getting to know him on a personal level later in his life.
“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,” Obama wrote on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Biden shared his love for Harris, whom he said was there for his family when he lost his first wife and infant daughter. He also called him a “dear friend” and a “great American.”
“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,” Biden said. “May God bless Franco Harris, a dear friend of 50 years and a great American.”
Harris has certainly left a huge mark in the football world, and what he did throughout his career will always be remembered. But for those close to him like Barack Obama and Joe Biden, Harris is more than just a football icon in their eyes.