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Carolina Panthers

Panthers owner mourns the passing of Franco Harris

Franco Harris

CHARLOTTE — The entire NFL family is mourning the passing of former Steelers running back and Pro Football Hall of Famer Franco Harris, who died overnight at 72.

But for Panthers owner David Tepper, the loss hits especially close to home.

Growing up watching the Steelers, and at one point a part-owner of the team, the man on the end of the "Immaculate Reception" was special to Tepper.

"As a native of Pittsburgh, Franco Harris was a boyhood idol, and he will always be ingrained among my fondest sports memories," Tepper said. "A humble and charitable person, I had the privilege of meeting him on a number of occasions following his playing career, particularly through his work with Pittsburgh Promise. Nicole and I extend our deepest condolences to his wife, Dana, his son, Dok, as well as his family and friends. He will be missed and will always be a Legend for his contributions on and off the field."

Harris's death comes two days before the 50th anniversary of his most famous play, and the Steelers were set to retire his number 32 jersey at Saturday night's game against the Raiders.

During his career, he ran for 12,120 yards and was an offensive mainstay on teams that won four Super Bowl titles.

Franco Harris

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