Steelers’ Najee Harris Aces First Media Test

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.

There’s not much that can be gleaned from rookie minicamp, at least not in terms of how the new Pittsburgh Steelers draft picks and undrafted free agents are going to fare in training camp and beyond.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin indicated as much when he said this weekend is mostly about getting to know each other.

“We’ve got a limited number of guys so we are cautious about the amount of work that we put them through or the type of work that we put them through…. Our goals are to get an assessment of conditioning and for them to have an opportunity to display their conditioning and to do some teaching and learning….”

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Najee Harris on Mike Tomlin, More

But we did learn a little about how well this year’s draft picks will handle the media attention that comes with being a professional football player.

For one, it’s safe to say that first-round pick Najee Harris handled the media’s questions with aplomb.

Asked about working with Tomlin, he described the team’s head coach as a people person, one who is “likeable” and “easy to play for,” and someone who “takes the time out of his day to really get to know the players.”

When he was asked about a one-handed catch he made during Friday’s drills, he feigned ignorance about the media being in attendance and then asked “Where you guys at?”

After being advised that the media were watching from the balcony, he quipped, “Man, I thought y’all were boosters,” a response that drew a laugh.

Then, when he was queried about whether the Steelers might run the ball in specific situations now that he is part of the team, his answer boiled down to: I don’t know, really.

“I’m just trying to get my feet wet, man. I’m a rookie,” he noted.

Najee Harris: ‘I Would Never Try to Blend In’

Yet he was emphatic when asked about the prospect of becoming a team leader, or whether he is trying to “blend in at this point” in the process.

“Well, I would never try to blend in nowhere,” he answered. “I try to stand out in my own way because I’m me because I feel like I always stand out. Becoming a leader-wise, I feel like that’s something that comes with time. I barely know the offense … the veterans aren’t here of course, so I ain’t even met them. So trying to move at a fast pace … it’s all about taking things step by step by step. When it becomes at that point when it’s time to become a leader then it is, but as of now it’s not something I’m really thinking about.”

For more, watch Harris’ entire interview session immediately below:

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