Steelers’ Najee Harris Smiles as He Puts Ravens All-Pro on Notice

Najee Harris

Joe Sargent/Getty Images Najee Harris of the Pittsburgh Steelers on August 21, 2021.

On Wednesday Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris was on Radio Row in Los Angeles for Super Bowl LVI, where Sports Illustrated asked the former first-round pick which NFL player he’d most like to “run over.”

“Marcus Peters,” he said with a smile, after thinking about it for a few seconds. “It’s Marcus Peters, if he’s watching this, Marcus Peters, for sure,” he added, leaning to the side to make it abundantly clear he’s not being mean-spirited.

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Najee Harris and Marcus Peters Are Friends

That’s becase Harris and Peters are already well-acquainted. In fact, Peters was at Harris’ draft party, and even photobombed a Harris interview after the former Alabama running back was selected by the Steelers.

“That was Marcus Peters,” said Harris at the time. “He just told me, ‘I’m gonna be playing you twice a year.’ That’s what he told me all draft day,” a day in which Harris also hosted a draft party for homeless children. “It’s like he knew something before me. He said, ‘Just know I’m going to be playing you twice a year,’” inferring that the Steelers would be selecting him, something that fellow Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey feared would happen.

As it turns out, Harris didn’t have the opportunity to go against Peters in 2021, as the two-time All-Pro cornerback suffered a torn ACL in practice in September of last year.

Even without Peters, Harris struggled to find running room against the Ravens last season. On December 5, 2021, Harris had 21 carries for 71 yards (3.4 yards per rush), while adding five receptions for 36 yards. But that was a lot more productive than he was in the season-finale at Baltimore on January 9, 2022, when he had 11 carries for just 28 yards (2.5 yards per carry) with four receptions for 27 yards.

Of course, the Steelers got the last laugh in both games, winning 20-19 in Pittsburgh and escaping Baltimore with a 16-13 overtime victory. Being AFC North rivals, the two teams will meet twice during the 2022 season, as is always the case.

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Benny Snell Trucked Marcus Peters in 2020

If Najee Harris manages to run over Marcus Peters sometime in the coming years, it won’t be the first time that a Steelers back has run roughshod over Peters. In the December 2020 game between the Ravens and Steelers at Heinz Field, second-string RB Benny Snell Jr. stiff-armed the former first-round pick down to the ground, though Peters managed to get a hand on Snell as he was going past, thereby getting him to the ground.

More notably, Harris has already demonstrated a propensity for dishing out punishment to opposing defenders—and defensive backs in particular.

During Pittsburgh’s home opener last season, Harris stiff-armed Raiders safety Johnathan Abram to the ground, a “big time move” that prompted a roar of approval from the Heinz Field crowd.

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