Hall of Famer Franco Harris is one of just five running backs the Steelers have taken in the first round since the 1970 NFL merger.
Harris will be in Cleveland for the 2021 NFL Draft this week and is scheduled to announce the team’s second- and third-round picks on Friday.
While he’s there, he hopes the Steelers make it six first-round backs — and another Harris — by taking Alabama’s Najee Harris in the first round on Thursday.
“If he’s available, I would like to see another Harris in the backfield,” Harris told CBS Sports on Wednesday. “We need a running game. I can’t tell you how disappointing it was last year, we get to within the 5-yard line going into the end zone and we’re throwing all the time. We’re not pounding it in there and having running backs do their thing. We need a running back that can really make a difference. This Harris kid is a tough kid. I feel he could really make a difference.”
Harris — Franco Harris that, is — will be venturing into enemy territory in Cleveland this weekend, and he’s not expecting a warm welcome from the crowd along the shore of Lake Erie.
“If they boo me, I’m going to take it as they’re sending me love,” Harris said. “I do really enjoy that the rivalry is back. We have a pretty tough division now, when you look at the four teams in there. And I like it like that. I like when it’s tough, when it’s close, and it gets down to the wire. To me, that’s the excitement of it, and that’s when you have to rise to the occasion. So to win our division will really say a lot, because our division is pretty tough. So I’m excited that Cleveland is back, but I don’t want them to get all the way back.”
While most of the Steelers picks this weekend will probably prompt an unpleasant reaction from the Cleveland faithful, it won’t impact Najee Harris. He’s one of 45 prospects that will be participating in the draft virtually from home.