Najee Harris was always the Steelers’ guy in the 2021 NFL Draft. Like literally, always the guy. Kevin Colbert admitted as much by saying “We identified in the pre-draft process that if Najee was there, that’s who we were taking.” It’s not hard to see why they fell in love with the player. You turn on the tape and you become enamored with the specimen that Harris is and his ability to do things somebody his size just shouldn’t be able to. The do-it-all running back had a role in all four of his seasons for the powerhouse Alabama Crimson Tide football program, but became the main guy in his junior season. Putting up monster numbers across the last two seasons, Najee was ready to take center stage.
Harris finished his career as the all-time leader in rushing yards (3,843), total scrimmage yards (4,624) and touchdowns (57) for the Crimson Tide. Considering the program that Alabama has built, being the leader in any category is quite the accomplishment. Najee did it in three different categories. I don’t think I need to really say any more about the player. Head Coach Mike Tomlin and General Manager Kevin Colbert saw what they needed to. He comes with loads of college production with a skillset that is the closest thing we’ve seen to prime Le’Veon Bell.
What it means to be a Steeler
We’ve heard from so many Steelers (past and present) that being a Pittsburgh Steeler requires more than on-field production, though. It’s an organization that takes pride in who their players are as men and what they can add to the Pittsburgh community. That’s what I want to talk more about for the rest of this article. We know what Najee can do for the Pittsburgh Steelers each and every Sunday. Let’s talk about the asset that he’s going to be for the Pittsburgh community and how well he will represent that logo.
Harris showed the type of teammate he was when he attended and supported his Alabama teammates at a Pro Day that he himself was unable to compete in (due to nursing an ankle injury). The fact that this came after his flight was delayed, forcing him to drive there to make it happen is even more telling of his character. Kevin Colbert spoke highly of his character and commended him for doing so. This move really struck a chord with Steelers brass.
Najee Harris spent several years in a homeless shelter along with his parents and four siblings. He himself can attest to the hardships of several people right in our own backyards every single day. Now a success story of his own, he looks to be an inspiration for those in a similar position. While several players either watched from home or attended the draft itself, Najee spent it at the same shelter where he spent years growing up in what became a full-circle moment for him. The 23-year-old also catered the draft night event, helping create a memory many of the Bay area homeless won’t forget.
He didn’t take much time before he started helping out in the Pittsburgh community as well. Upon arrival in Pittsburgh (after taking a picture with the Franco Harris airport statue and going through the Fort Pitt tunnel) he quickly got acclimated with giving a helping hand in Pittsburgh. He, along with Zach Banner, lent a hand to former Steeler Vance McDonald’s ‘Convoy of Hope’ mission. Hosted at Heinz Field, the distribution provided Pittsburgh families with necessities like groceries and hygiene kits. He also gifted them with some Steelers swag as well.
This was just the first in what guarantees to be a long list of charitable causes that Najee gets involved with. Pittsburgh is sure to embrace Harris who in many ways defines Pittsburgh. A blue collar player with a chip on the shoulder mindset that doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere soon. On the field, he’s here to aid the Steelers league-worst rushing attack. Off the field, he’s here to aid the community and those who need it.
A Perfect Fit
The Pittsburgh Steelers name is synonymous with many things. Winning, class, consistency, tough-nose all come to mind. These are also great characteristics to describe their new star running back. In many ways, Najee Harris was a Steeler well before he heard Pittsburgh call his name. Now that it’s official, he’s here to make Pittsburgh HOME.