Why did the late Franco Harris leave the Steelers? Reason for Pittsburgh legend's departure revisited

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Late Pittsburgh Steelers legend Franco Harris

The late Franco Harris will forever be remembered as one of the greatest players in the history of the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, the former Steelers star didn't end his career with the historic franchise.

The Steelers cut him after a prolonged and uncomfortable contract holdout during training camp before the start of the 1984 - 1985 season. At the time, Harris was 363 yards away from breaking former running back Jim Brown's NFL all-time record for career rushing yards.

Harris spoke of his time with both the Steelers and Seattle Seahawks, the team that signed him after being cut. Here's what he said in a 2006 Associated Press story:

"I had 12 great years in Pittsburgh, and that one doesn't matter. During my time with Seattle, they were great people, great teammates and I liked the town, the town was good to me. It just wasn't for me."

In 12 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Harris was a nine-time Pro Bowler, a four-time Super Bowl winner, and an All-Pro. The late running back rushed for 11,950 yards and 91 touchdowns with the team. He's the franchise's all-time leader in both rushing yards and touchdowns.

At the time, Harris misjudged the Steelers' inflexibility when it came to contract concerns. In turn, the Steelers' front office miscalculated what the star running back meant to Steelers fans. In 2006, Harris noted that he didn't take it personally and will forever be a Steeler:

"I don't even think about that now. I'm still black and gold."

For Harris, the final stop in his NFL career would take him to Seattle, where he didn't have the same impact he did with Pittsburgh.

Franco Harris and his final season in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks

In September 1984, Franco Harris was signed by the Seahawks to replace star running back Curt Warner. Warner suffered a season-ending knee injury in the season opener for the Seahawks. While Harris got the money he had desired from the Steelers, estimated at $550K to $600K, the Seahawks didn't get the running back they wanted.


Franco Harris played in eight games for the Seahawks in the 1984 - 1985 season, rushing for 170 yards on 68 carries. The Seattle Seahawks cut Harris after those eight games. However, the former Penn State star was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990.


Although his time with the Seattle Seahawks was forgettable, Franco Harris' Steelers legacy will be remembered for a long time.

If you use any of the above quotes, please credit Boston.com and H/T Sportskeeda.

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Edited by John Maxwell