PITTSBURGH — The slow start to the sophomore campaign of Najee Harris may now be explained. Harris revealed on Friday that he has played with a steel plate in his cleat since he returned to the field following his lisfranc injury.
Harris was injured on the first day of live padded practice in Latrobe. He then missed over two weeks of practice and two preseason games before finally suiting up against the Detroit Lions. Harris reportedly tweaked it again when Pittsburgh traveled to Cincinnati in Week 1.
However, the final step of the process was removing the steel plate from his cleat. Harris removed the plate from his shoe two days ago and will now be able to play his first game without limitations on that foot. He explained the long, strenuous process that went into his recovery from that nagging foot injury.
“I put a steel plate in my shoe,” Harris said. “It kinda prohibited me from doing certain things. But I just took it out two days ago. It’s gotten a lot better. I missed that long training period and out recovering.”
Harris mentioned that his lack of chemistry with the offensive line was an issue. But not only that, Harris declared himself to be fully healthy and recovered from his foot injury. Without the steel plate, he hopes he can see his production take off starting against the Buccaneers.
“I took off the plate, so I’m practicing without. I’m good to go,” Harris said.
That can prevent an ability to push off his foot. In one shoe, it would feel odd with the extra weight, and Harris could not fully use his lateral agility. The restrictions with the shoe started with cutting and getting lateral. With his elite lateral agility, the injury affected Harris’ ability to make things happen with the ball in his hands.
“It’s not hard to get burst, but there’s a steel plate in one shoe and one doesn’t have it,” Harris said. “Now, I’m moving around a lot more, I feel a lot better without it.”
Harris took accountability for his performance and acknowledged that not all struggles were due to the injury. However, it’s clear that they had a significant effect on what Harris could do on the field. For his first game without the plate, it will be interesting to see how he comes against Tampa Bay.