Running Commentary - Franco Harris

General Published on : 1/1/2005

Hall of Famers Talk about the Best

As the Dallas Cowboys' Emmitt Smith races towards Walter Payton's all-time rushing total of 16,726 yards, has solicited the thoughts of some of the game's greatest players. Follow along each week, as one of Walter's fellow Hall of Famers shares his views about the rushing record and the men who've held it.

Franco Harris
Running back FRANCO HARRIS came within 228 yards of breaking Jim Brown's rushing record during the final season of his Hall of Fame career. In all, Harris gained 12,120 yards on 2,949 carries and scored 91 touchdowns.

Chasing Brown's Record
First of all, it was pretty unbelievable for me at that time that I was in such a position because it's something that I never seeked. And, to be there was quite amazing but I have to admit it was quite exciting.

Unfortunately, things didn't work out contract-wise with the Steelers and so it made it a mute point.

Relationship with Walter Payton
Well, my feeling was that there could not have been a better person to do it.

What Walter accomplished with a Bears team that struggled for so many years is quite amazing. Just his ability and drive, and also missing so few games.

As a person and a football player - I felt that if anyone should break it and deserved to break it, it was Walter Payton. I was very happy for him and very proud of him.

Qualities of a Great Back
Everybody has there own style and circumstances have a lot to do with it - what team you're on and do they feature a running back.

To say there is one thing or the same thing that makes everybody click and go, it's just not that way.

Does your style of running really fit (your team's) game strategy. Does it really fit with what they're trying to accomplish. Then, do you get the carries to make it happen. And, then are you lucky enough to really stay healthy.

Emmitt Smith
With what he's accomplished is quite amazing when you think about what people were saying in the beginning of being too small and being too slow.

What it really shows you, with determination, and durability, and the love of the game. . .what that can do.

I take my hat off to him. Because sometimes people say there's records that will never be broken. And, before you know, along comes someone who does it. And, sometimes who you might least expect. To me, that shows me a lot of greatness.