PITTSBURGH — Perhaps Najee Harris is just different. The Steelers’ rookie running back has been impressive since he stepped on the field. While the numbers did not completely start backing up the notion of his play on the field until now, Harris has always had the great baseline traits to be a stud. The more he has played on the field, the more that Harris impresses viewers and his teammates.
In particular, Harris is capturing the attention of his offensive line. It is not just anyone on that offensive line, either. Trai Turner, the veteran of the unit, has seen plenty of talented running backs in his day. From Christian McCaffrey to Jonathan Stewart to Austin Ekeler, Turner has blocked for plenty of talented running backs in his eight-year career. However, Turner says Harris exhibits things that are different from all of those names mentioned.
“His toughness is great,” Turner said. “He’s smart, man. He’s able to call himself out on what he needs to do better. He doesn’t mind coming to us and asking ‘what did you notice about this’ or ‘what did you think about that’. Something I haven’t noticed around young backs I’ve been around is that he’ll give his input. Not so much necessarily about the gameplan but on certain runs, how we fit those runs. He and I will talk about certain blocks and he talks through what I’m thinking versus what he’s thinking. It’s just he notices the small details, the nuances of a certain play.”
Harris’ receptiveness behind the scenes has been a common theme for his praise from others. In the Summer, Eddie Faulkner had to tell Harris to go home after spending too much time studying film. Harris is clearly a hard worker and it will only aid him as he continues to try and improve.