Franco Harris: I Didn't Want Steelers To Draft Me

The Steelers legend initially didn't want to play for Pittsburgh, but looking back, he sure is happy he did

The DA Show
April 21, 2020 - 10:42 am
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Several general managers aren’t happy about this year’s all-virtual NFL Draft. Well, it’s a good thing they didn’t draft players in the 1970s. 

They would have been completely lost.

“You hear scouts talk about, ‘We didn’t see players enough. We didn’t get enough information,’” Steelers legend Franco Harris said on The DA Show. “But back in the day, no one called me. No one tested me for anything. They just went by certain information, and I guess that’s what they have to do now. There was no set-up to go anywhere. I just got a phone call that morning.”

Believe it or not, Harris, who starred at Penn State, did not want to play for Pittsburgh.

“I did not want to be drafted by the Steelers,” he said. “I told my agent, ‘I don’t want to be drafted by the Steelers or the Green Bay Packers. Can you call them and tell them don’t draft me?’”

The agent’s response? Absolutely not.

“So I’m in my apartment, and that morning I got a phone call and it said, ‘Congratulations, you were drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers,’” Harris recalled. “And my mind went, ‘Oh, no.’”

Don’t worry, Steelers fans. It wasn’t personal.

“I really didn’t know their history, but when I finally looked at their history, they were the worst team ever in NFL football up until that point,” Harris said. “The worst team ever. But the real reason was I wanted to go out and see the world. I was a two-and-a-half-hour, three-hour drive from Pittsburgh, and I was like, ‘I want to go to Miami, L.A. – I want to go out into the world. I don’t want to go somewhere just right down the road.’ But did it work out? Wow. No one saw that coming, and it was incredible.”

Harris played for the Steelers from 1972 to 1983. He was a nine-time Pro Bowler, a four-time Super Bowl champion, was named Super Bowl MVP of Super Bowl IX, and was responsible for the legendary “Immaculate Reception.”

“How lucky was I to be drafted on that 13th pick and what we had during the 70s?” Harris asked. “No one saw that coming. Nobody. So that phone call was pretty incredible, but it was something that I didn’t want to happen and didn’t think was going to happen, and it was the best thing that could have ever happened.”