Steelers’ Najee Harris Offers Curious First Impression of Pittsburgh

Najee Harris

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images Najee Harris of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after diving for a touchdown against the Auburn Tigers on November 30, 2019.

On Monday the Pittsburgh Steelers teased the next edition of ‘The Standard,’ which includes a behind-the-scenes look at Najee Harris’ first day in the Steel City.

Among other things, the teaser shows Harris being greeted by fans at the Pittsburgh International Airport, taking a trip to the top of the Duquesne Incline and getting his first view of Heinz Field.

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He went on to offer his first impression of the city of Pittsburgh, which he said looks like “Alice in Wonderland”—a reference to the fictional fantasy world of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” which has been adapted in countless forms since Carroll’s novel was first published in 1865.

“This is clean,” he added. “The view of everything, I can see why people really like this place.”

Najee Harris Recalls Draft Day

On that same day, Harris also did a one-on-one interview with Missi Matthews of, during which he talked about his draft day experience, including how he came to host a draft party for homeless children at the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program soup kitchen and homeless shelter in Richmond, Calif., where he lived for a time when he was a child.

He also addressed his penchant for hurdling would-be tacklers, which has been a hot topic since last Thursday night, when Pittsburgh made Harris its first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft (No. 24 overall).

Harris on Hurdling Defenders

After Matthews reminded Harris that his mom “doesn’t like” him hurdling defenders, he confirmed her displeasure with that aspect of his game, saying, “She never liked me [hurdling], nor did Coach [Nick] Saban like me hurdling, but it’s more of an instinct thing. I am a bigger back so defenders tend to go low on me so I want to have an answer for any situation I’m in so…. But I try to get up as high as I can, though, because if I get hit there’s going to be a lot of impact with the ground,” he admitted.

As for the best advice he’s gotten from a current or former NFL player, Harris said he can’t single out any particular piece of advice, noting that he has already heard words of wisdom from the likes of running backs Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch and Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters.

“They taught me a lot of stuff … in terms of how to be financially smart and how to carry yourself off the field,” he said. “And on the field how you can separate yourself from other players and other people in the league because everyone is talented. It’s just the details that separate you.”

The Steelers hope that Harris is on top of his details and can immediately show he’s a franchise running back, one who can help revive a running game that produced just 1,351 yards and finished last in the NFL in rushing.

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