By: KDKA-TV News Staff
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – With the 24th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Steelers selected Alabama running back Najee Harris.READ MORE: Man Accused Of Killing Woman In Homewood Pleads Guilty
After being drafted, Harris took questions from everything about what it felt like to be drafted, his background, and his thoughts on coming to the Steelers, including getting a chance to play with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
“Oh, man, that’s dope as hell,” Harris said. “People didn’t realize it, but I only followed two teams and that was the Steelers and the Niners and that’s because I actually liked those teams. But actually seeing Big Ben, all the Super Bowls he came into, and actually seeing him perform at a high level and stuff like that, and actually being to line up with him, on the side of him and learn from him, I mean, that’s an honor right there.”
In the 2020 season, the Steelers were last in the NFL in rushing and Harris will be called upon to help improve the team’s running attack, a challenge he embraces.
“I don’t feel pressure at all, to be honest with you,” he said. “I’ve been put in a lot of situations with that type of stuff put on me, especially in college. NFL is different, of course, but I feel like it’s nothing that I can’t do in time for sure.”READ MORE: Lawsuit: Company Owned By West Virginia Governor Jim Justice Owes $166,000
When Harris was younger, his family fell on hard times, and with life in the NFL on the horizon, he chose to give back, spending his draft day at a shelter they once were housed in.
“I wanted to make sure that I could give back to the community and show them if y’all still need anything like I’m never too big or too whatever to help you guys out, I’m always going to be the helping hand,” he said. “I wanted to make sure that happened, so I had a party over there, passing out food and pizza. I feel like they didn’t think that was serious enough, which they did, but in my mindset, I didn’t think so, so I said I’m going to pull up and actually show them I’m really here if you guys need anything. I know I’m getting drafted today, but if you guys need anything, I’m literally right here.”
History has been kind to Steelers running backs named Harris, considering Franco Harris, is a Football Hall Of Famer. This new Harris said he looks forward to joining an organization such as the Steelers for their history and love of the run game.
“One thing about the Steelers is recent history has always evolved around the run game,” he said. “I always thought it would be a perfect fit to be there.”
The Steelers still have seven more picks remaining in the 2021 NFL Draft, the 55th, 87th, 128th, 140th, 216th, 245th, and 254th overall picks.MORE NEWS: Businesses Hope Partial Closure Of Fort Duquesne Boulevard Will Breathe Life Back Into Downtown
You can track all of the Steelers’ draft moves with our Steelers Draft Tracker.