Najee Harris and Ben Roethlisberger have only known each other for about nine months. However, in what will likely be their only season putting the cleats on together, both have been complimentary of one another from the very start. Harris, though, is carving out a role that seems himself as the likely future of the Steelers’ offense and their strategy.
Still, playing with a Hall of Fame quarterback who is the unquestioned leader of the offense right now is a fantastic mentor for a young budding star to learn from. Roethlisberger, who has taken Harris under his wing in terms of leadership, has been nothing but impressed by Harris on and off the field. During his interview with WDVE on Friday, Roethlisberger waxed poetically about Harris.
“Special, special player,” Roethlisberger said.” I’ll tell you what, he doesn’t say a lot, and maybe that’ll change as he gets more around.”
When mentioning that he was an introvert, Roethlisberger specifically was questioned about Troy Polamalu and Harris’ similarities to the Hall of Famer. While Roethlisberger acknowledge he was not a perfect comparison to Polamalu, he did note there were some similarities to the two.
“He’s a thinker, an introvert,” Roethlisberger said of Harris. “I always thought about that with Troy. He’s very specific with his words. Naj is a heck of a football player.”
As part of the class that is supposed to reshape and reinvigorate an offense that has been poor, however, Harris will be looked at as the leader for a group. For Roethlisberger and reflecting on the talented 2021 NFL Draft class for the Steelers, he believes Harris will lead the group into the future with his work ethic and talent.
“There are some young guys, with Pat, KG, and Dan Moore, who all are going to come up together and change the way the offense is,” Roethlisberger said. “Naj is the ringleader of that group in how he comes to play. He’s going to do great. On every play, he wants it to be a touchdown. He wants it to be a home run. As he grows and learns, he’ll learn every play can’t be a home run and he has to pick and choose his battles. I’ve seen him grow and do that and learn from that.”
The 23-year-old Harris still has some work to do on his game, but there is no denying that he has seemingly only improved as the season has gone along. With big things expected out of him for next year and moving forward, Roethlisberger’s endorsement is the latest in a long line of them.