It’s been a difficult start to Najee Harris‘ sophomore season. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ first-round running back hasn’t made that second-year leap that head coach Mike Tomlin says is critical to developing and expected of his young players.
Harris hasn’t quite been himself after suffering a Lisfranc injury in the offseason. Though he said he’s 100 percent healed, Harris has yet to eclipse 75 yards rushing in any of his eight starts, and he has only one rushing touchdown to go along with his two receiving TDs. He’s averaging just 3.3 yards per carry and 45.1 rushing yards per game.
“You know he’s a quality back that’s made some plays,” Tomlin said when asked if he’d consider making Warren the starter over Harris. “We’ll keep giving him an opportunity to do so, and maybe he’ll write that script.”
In an exclusive interview with Heavy on Steelers, Harris talked about the undrafted running back gunning for his gig.
“It’s pretty good,” Harris said of his relationship with Warren. “He’s a good player, and we’re in this together.”
“This is his first year. It’s my second year, so obviously, there’s a chance that he could be here just as long as I’m here, if not longer. And he comes in there, and he’s always here to learn.”
Steelers’ Jaylen Warren Making a Name for Himself
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin isn’t the only one Jaylen Warren has impressed. Offensive coordinator Matt Canada likes what he sees from the undrafted rookie.
“Jaylen’s been explosive, making plays,” Canada told 93.7 The Fan’s Jeff Hathhorn on November 10. “What he’s done when he’s on the field, running the ball, blocking, catching the ball. Obviously, he is writing his own script, in my opinion. Coming in from where he started to where he is now he’s elevated and we’ll continue to use him. We gotta get the ball to the guys that are making plays.”
Despite Warren telling Steelers media that his practice reps have not increased, Hathhorn observed otherwise, saying that he split first-team reps with Harris and has “moved into a close to equal timeshare.”
Before the Steelers’ bye-week break, Tomlin hinted that changes were coming. Warren’s role could be one of them. We’ll see when the Pittsburgh Steelers welcome the 3-6 New Orleans Saints to Acrisure Stadium on October 13.
Pittsburgh is 11-4 in the Mike Tomlin era following the bye week. Unfortunately, one of those four losses came to New Orleans — also the only team Tomlin hasn’t defeated in his 16 seasons as head coach.
Najee Harris’ Rookie Mistake
When Najee Harris signed with the Steelers as a rookie in 2021, he made a mistake that isn’t all that uncommon. Pittsburgh’s Week 10 matchup with the Detroit Lions ended in a 16-16 tie, but Harris thought he still had a quarter to help his team to victory.
“I didn’t even know you could tie in the NFL,” Harris said after the game. “In my mind, I was sitting on the bench saying, ‘I’ve got another quarter to go.’ But someone came to me and said, ‘That’s it.’ I’ve never had a tie in my life before.”
Now Harris gets to help others through their rookie mistakes. He teamed up with Snickers, the official chocolate bar sponsor of the NFL, for the return of the brand’s “Rookie Mistake of the Year” campaign.
The campaign, launched in 2021, encourages fans to submit their rookie mistake (video, photo or written examples) on snickers.com/rookiemistake for a chance to be crowned Snickers Rookie Mistake of the Year.
Throughout the NFL regular season, Snickers will spotlight some of the best rookie mistake submissions, giving fans a chance to be featured across Snickers platforms and rewarded with signed merchandise and NFLshop.com gift cards.
At the end of the regular season, a panel of NFL experts will select one rookie mistake that will be crowned “Snickers Rookie Mistake of the Year.” The winner will receive two tickets to the 2023 Super Bowl in Arizona and a chance to celebrate on the field after the game.
To learn more about Snickers Rookie Mistake of the Year or submit your own rookie mistake, visit snickers.com/rookiemistake and follow along on social using the hashtag SNICKERSROOKIEMISTAKE.