There are some who consider Najee Harris was too closely utilized in his breakout rookie season that coincided with the retirement tour of Ben Roethlisberger, and that faction of analysts are about to do some very actual pearl-clutching if the previous first-round decide has his manner in 2022. The 24-year-old led the NFL in 2021 with 381 touches — the primary rookie within the historical past of the league to have greater than 300 carries and higher than 70 receptions — however he lately famous an expectation that the Pittsburgh Steelers.
That’s clearly no assure, with Roethlisberger retired however a ton of uncertainty on the quarterback place, and Harris readily understands this. And on condition that understanding, he says he is prepared for as many touches in 2022 because the Steelers are ready to offer him, even when which means decimating the document he stated final season in that class.
Rumors of his weight achieve had been overstated, Harris made it clear weeks in the past, and he is primed for motion.
“I am going to get 500 [touches],” he instructed “The Wealthy Eisen Present” forward of coaching camp. “Hear, I did not have a problem with it. It was the media who had a problem with it. I instructed them each recreation, ‘If that is the way in which we’re successful, I can carry the load.’ I practice to hold hundreds.
“It is not one thing that I have not accomplished earlier than. I did it in school, highschool, NFL. For me to get that many carries, I used to be like, man, are we successful video games? It was an extended streak the place somebody was saying if I’ve 25 carries, then we’re undefeated.”
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For reference, and to show Harris’ level, his final season with the Crimson Tide noticed him amass 294 touches for 1,891 yards and 30 touchdowns, and Alabama went on to win the nationwide championship that season with Harris additionally garnering honors as SEC Championship Sport MVP . This implies what he did as an NFL rookie was nothing new to him, and he is completely OK with doing it once more, and once more, and once more — for as many seasons because the Steelers want him to.
“So, OK, that is our identification proper right here,” he added. “Let’s maintain this occurring, let’s maintain this going. Hear, if I get 500 carries, so long as we’re successful, it would not actually matter.”
After all, there’s typically a distinction between wishing for one thing and the truth of what comes with receiving it, as a result of working backs within the NFL have one of many shortest shelf lives round — given the punishment they take frequently — and the Steelers perceive this, which is why Harris initially said there’s an opportunity his touches transfer in the other way with the apparent purpose of extending the profession of what is already develop into an integral piece of the Steelers future.
However that will additionally require stable quarterback play, and coaching camp will open with an all-out competitors between Mitch Trubisky, [rookie] Kenny Pickett, Mason Rudolph and Chris Oladokun. As for which of the 4 Harris predicts will emerge as QB1 for the crew’s Week 1 opener towards the Cincinnati Bengals?
He has no thought. The Professional Bowler is solely able to do his job.
“I am only a participant. I am not the coach.”