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Najee Harris Agent Rips Report He Wants to Leave Steelers

An agent for Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris ripped a report that Harris asked for his fifth-year option to be declined.

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Pittsburgh Steelers RB Najee Harris
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris stiff-arms a Cincinnati Bengals defender at Paycor Stadium on Nov. 23, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The agent for Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris vigorously denied a report that his client had requested that the team decline his fifth-year option.

Doug Hendrickson, an agent at Wasserman who represents Harris, fired back at a report by Paul Zeise of 93.7 The Fan and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Harris had requested that the team not pick up the option.

“Hey @PaulZeise, your “little birdie” source is a joke- next time do your homework and find a real source- not true,” Hendrickson wrote on X.

Zeise had said during an appearance on The Joe Show with host Joe Starkey on Thursday that Harris wanted out of Pittsburgh.

“Little birdie said Najee Harris actually asked for the Steelers to decline his fifth-year option because he would like to go play somewhere else,” Zeise said.

The Steelers turned down the fifth-year option that would have paid Harris $6.7 million in 2025. Instead, he is now set to become an unrestricted free agent next March.

Harris became the first player in Steelers history to run for 1,000 or more yards in each of the first three seasons of his career. In 2023, Harris had the best season of his career in terms of yards per carry as he rushed 255 times for 1,035 yards — a 4.1 yards per carry average — and he scored eight touchdowns. Harris had rushed for 3.9 and 3.8 yards per carry in each of his first two seasons.

It’s not clear whether either the Steelers or Harris would like to participate in contract negotiations between now and the season, or if Harris will enter 2024 on an expiring contract.
There have been rumors and speculation about Harris’ potential availability on the trade market, with NFL insider Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated suggesting that teams should be calling the Steelers to check on an asking price for Harris on Thursday.

The Steelers have two other experienced running backs on their roster, Jaylen Warren, who shared time with Harris in 2023 and nearly led the NFL in yards per carry, and converted wide receiver and kickoff returner Cordarrelle Patterson, who came over from the Atlanta Falcons along with offensive coordinator Arthur Smith.