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Najee Harris Limited at Steelers Minicamp, Tomlin Downplays Concern

Mike Tomlin said that while Najee Harris was limited at Pittsburgh Steelers practice, it was not of great concern.

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Pittsburgh Steelers Najee Harris
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris during OTAs at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on June 4, 2024. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — After missing the first scheduled day of mandatory minicamp due to an excused absence, Najee Harris stood off to the side for most of practice on Wednesday. However, head coach Mike Tomlin downplayed the issue, stating that Harris is not significantly injured, and pointed to Cam Heyward, who took zero team reps, as an example of why Harris is not doing much.

The reason? Pittsburgh and Tomlin are already too familiar with guys like Harris and Heyward, so why have those guys clog up snaps when others can be evaluated and work with those reps more effectively?

“Not anything that’s going to be an issue regarding health. You guys know my approach man, Cam Heyward didn’t take any snaps today either, is another example of it. I know a lot about some of those guys. I know less about some of these others. And so, I like to focus my energies on those that are working and not those that are moving out of the way at times to see others,” Tomlin said.

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

Instead of Harris taking the reps, others, such as Jaylen Warren, Aaron Shampklin, Jonathan Ward, and others, continue to claim those reps. That will allow the team to evaluate its deeper running back depth chart, especially considering that there might be one spot on the 53-man roster or, at the very least, the practice squad open for someone to emerge from that room.

This is a nonstory for now, but it could become much more interesting around training camp. Regardless, the Steelers try to not have Harris take many reps in this period of the offseason in hopes that they do not put as much tread on his tires.