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"Then they had to put antiseptic on it again because Franco kept touching it, and then they put the stitches in and Franco is going like this...." Swann makes a series of tight-lipped faces.
"Franco's saying 'Is that all? Is that all?' And the doctor said he thought he ought to get a tetanus shot. Franco didn't want to. I told him I'd take one, I hadn't had one in a long time and we get those carpet burns on the turf. Franco still didn't want to. He said, 'How bad is it if you get tetanus?' The doctor said, 'You get like this....' " Swann makes a series of tight-lipped faces just like the ones Franco was making when he got stitches.
"I'm saying, 'Franco, just go ahead and get the shot.'
" 'Well, what are the warning signs?' Franco wants to know. 'I could wait and get the shot if I start having them.'
"The doctor says, 'Put it this way, Franco, nine out of 10 people who get the warning signs don't make it.'
" 'What if I get nauseous?' Franco says. 'Could I get the shot then?' He's still trying to talk the doctor out of the shot. Then finally he sits down, and he's like a high jumper crouched waiting for the wind to be just right. 'Got to get ready. Ah-right...mmn. Ah-right-ah-right-ah-right—wait a minute.' "
So. Maybe Harris is chicken. Maybe that's why he's so sympathetic to kids in hospitals, and why he has preserved himself so admirably, and even why he suddenly gets those sudden bursts. Walter Conti says Franco told him, after making his first long NFL run, "All of a sudden I saw a hole, cut through it, and saw these two big fellas coming after me. I was so scared I burst out fast, and the next thing I knew I was 10 yards downfield. I don't like getting hit."
Maybe that's not the kind of humanitarianism Whizzer White seeks to foster, but you have to take humanitarianism and breaths of fresh air and great running backs where you find them. One thing Harris has learned in his years of reading is this:
"The hole is never where it's supposed to be."
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