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Najee Harris Shoots Down Questions about Workload



Steelers RB Najee Harris

PITTSBURGH — The Steelers have a fun backfield to work within 2023. With Jaylen Warren, Najee Harris, and Anthony McFarland, the team should have plenty of firepower out of its running back stable. But the lack of reps for Harris at training camp and thus far in the preseason is something that has been questioned by many. It is even more so after Warren ripped off a 62-yard touchdown run on Saturday. Prior to the game, head coach Mike Tomlin shot down any concerns about the lack of reps that Harris received.

“Not in response to any injury, it’s just about the maturation of him as a professional and giving him what he needs,” Tomlin said. “We don’t live in fear regarding injury or injury history. He just needs less physical reps the older he gets. There’s nothing ground-breaking or Earth-shattering about that.”

Following the team’s game against the Bills, Najee Harris spoke for the first time since those comments by Tomlin were said, and there was nothing flashy about what he did in his two carries on Saturday. That is just getting him physically ready with his feet wet, but the team had a plan from the very beginning of training camp.

“We came in with a plan,” Harris said. “I talked to Coach T at the start of camp. I am following Coach T. Whatever he says, goes.”

However, Harris notes that he does want to play. But there is a benefit to not having him play as much besides the obvious. Yes, the mileage is significantly less. But it gives more opportunities to a guy like Anthony McFarland to gel with the first-team offensive line. But in reality, it does make Harris anxious for the arrival of the regular season when he can take to the field in his usual capacity.

“Of course, I want to play more,” Harris said. “I want to get my feet wet too. But there’s always a plan, but also, these young guys we have got experience and these reps. Like, a guy like Ant, this is the best he’s looked since he’s been here for four years.”

The Steelers will trot out their guys for one last time against the Falcons. Harris should see some limited time in that game as well, but will not fully get the go-ahead to play until the 49ers come to town in Week 1.

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