PITTSBURGH — Najee Harris has been hyped greatly ever since he arrived in Pittsburgh in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. While he has yet to step foot in NFL game action, Harris’ work ethic has already made the rounds nationally. After Ben Roethlisberger told a story about how running backs coach Eddie Faulkner had to tell Harris he had to go home, it was clear that Harris was a different beast.
Faulkner, speaking with the media on Tuesday, noted that not only is that story Roethlisberger told true but that he is teaching Harris actually dial it back because he is working so hard.
“I’m all here for the hard work and all of that, but he also has to learn to give himself breaks, too,” Faulkner said. “He works his butt off and sometimes it’s a reward like ‘hey man, go home relax, watch some TV.’ With him being the kind of guy that he is, he’s so engaged and always asking questions. Sometimes I’m trying to teach him, you gotta take a deep breath.”
Harris’ work ethic is the main thing that sticks out about him to Faulkner and the Steelers. However, Faulkner views the insatiable appetite that Harris brings to the table as a net positive as well.
“I don’t have to coach any of the work ethic with him,” Faulkner said. “Over my entire career, you encourage guys to come in to get extra tape or do drills. I’ve never had a conversation with Najee in that regard because he’s always soaking it up and always wanting it.”
Within his skill-set, there are still things that the Steelers and Faulkner would like to see Harris work. Luckily, Faulkner says those are small intricacies, and the big picture is bright for Harris.
“We know he’s a talented guy, it’s just going to be those little intricacies of the offense and running routes that we want him to do,” Faulkner said. “And understanding that, the different coverages you can see, and how you run your routes off those coverages. Those are the things he’s got to learn.”
Harris is polished and was a first-round draft pick for a reason. He comes off a great Alabama career where he racked up 3843 rushing yards and 46 touchdowns. It should be no surprise to see Harris as a focal point of the offense come September.
Alan Saunders provided reporting from Pittsburgh.