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Najee Harris Says Steelers Lacked Discipline, Commitment in 2023



Steelers RB Najee Harris
Steelers RB Najee Harris against the Buffalo Bills, Jan. 15, 2024 - Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Steelers running back Najee Harris is in his third year and has started to take in the culture in Pittsburgh against the rest of the NFL. He’s the leader of the offense and the guy who calls all of the big meetings and changes within the locker room. There are even some messages that he has given to the group throughout the season that remained private, but on Monday, after their loss to the Bills, he reflected upon the issues at large.

Harris says the team needs to change the in-house rules. He thinks they lack discipline and are not nearly committed enough to elevate to Super Bowl status. It’s those types of issues that Harris thinks need to be changed.

“I’ve been here three years, obviously. I have my opinions on things, but I’m just a player. But if you want to elevate and get to where we’re at, there’s got to be some in-house things that need to change,” Harris said. “Coach [Tomlin] always tells me just play running back. That’s a little inside thing that we have too. But if you want to elevate where we are and achieve those goals that we want, we have to change some in-house stuff. Like I said, that’s not my place, that’s not anything that I can control or do anything about that.”

Steelers RB Najee Harris

Steelers RB Najee Harris against the Baltimore Ravens, Jan. 6, 2024 – Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Regardless of how things ended, Najee Harris has seen the issues persist throughout the season. And with that in mind, he took some of those issues public for the first time. But he was not calling for coaching changes, he was calling for rule changes within the room.

“In-house rules. Not no changes or coaches or anything like that. Just the rules that are in the building,” Harris said. “We’ve got to be more disciplined. We’ve got to be more committed. I’m not saying that we’re not, but coming from a place that has structure and coming and just seeing, we could probably get help in these areas; make a change. I think that’s something that could help. I’m not saying anything about coaches or anything like that; I’m saying in-house rules.”

Harris seemed to imply that some things were in place at Alabama that were not in place in Pittsburgh. In those meetings, Harris has drilled home the changes he wants to see on a player level, and even though he can not change it, he hopes to be able to address it.

“When I first got here, it was just how things were. I don’t know how it was when I wasn’t here,” Harris said. “I have my opinion on things, but obviously, it doesn’t matter; I’m just a player. The guys in that building know what I’m talking about. They’ve heard it, it just might be the first time y’all are hearing it.”

The Steelers have lost five consecutive playoff games and have not won a playoff game since 2016, making four consecutive 0-1 trips to the postseason. To get further, those changes need to happen. And it’s becoming clearer the Steelers players see the need for it, too.