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Najee Harris an Excused Absence from First Day of Steelers Minicamp

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris was absent from the first day of minicamp due to an excused absence.

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Pittsburgh Steelers RB Najee Harris
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris during OTAs at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on May 28, 2024. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — On the first day of the Pittsburgh Steelers mandatory minicamp, one notable player was not there — running back Najee Harris. However, Harris, who attended the team’s OTAs sessions, was excused from the practice due to a prior scheduled appointment, head coach Mike Tomlin said, staving off any concerns that Harris was absent for other reasons.

Unlike some absences around the NFL, such as Tee Higgins, Brandon Aiyuk, and Haason Reddick, Harris will not be fined for missing the practice since it was excused. The Steelers declined his fifth-year option in May, but offensive coordinator Arthur Smith has big plans in store for Harris.

Thrown in the same bag with Jaylen Warren and Cordarrelle Patterson, Smith is excited to see how everything shakes out. However, he expects plenty of carries to go around for Warren and Harris, with a smattering of Patterson mixed into that equation. The skill players’ versatility makes Smith believe the offense can play with different personnel groupings and be successful.

“We’ve got a lot of guys that can play multiple spots,” Smith said. “[I] really like the depth we’ve got up front right now.”

Pittsburgh Steelers RB Najee Harris

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris during OTAs at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on May 28, 2024. — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Najee Harris has yet to talk this offseason, so it is unclear if Harris and the team are in ongoing contract negotiations with his fifth-year option null and void. Regardless, Tomlin expects Harris to return to the team on Wednesday and attend the last two days of mandatory minicamp.

Harris has three straight seasons of 1000 rushing yards or more, the only running back in the NFL to do that during the span. Despite elite efficiency, Harris has proven to be a bastion of durability and has yet to miss a game in his entire NFL career while playing for the Steelers.

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