Last Monday night, I watched the Pittsburgh Steelers defeat the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football. The win continued the Steelers’ four-game win streak, it pushed them closer to the top of the AFC North division, and hopefully shut up all the naysayers about the Steelers’ 2021-22 season. I mean, the quarterback should have retired four years ago, and there’s plenty of significant injuries all around (please hurry up and get better, JuJu Smith-Schuster), but he players that are in the starting lineup are playing their hearts out.
And that includes Steelers first-round draft pick and starting running back Najee Harris.
Najee is currently on pace to claim a 1,000 yard rushing season in his first professional year – the last Steeler to do that was another Harris. Franco Harris, to be precise.
It should also be noted that Najee Harris overcame a ton of obstacles in his life. At one point growing up, he and his family lived in various homeless shelters, as well as out of a minivan. He never forgot where he came from and what he overcame, to the point where he now has a charity to help those in need. He also renovated the homeless shelter that was once his residence, paying for new floors, new walls, and new equipment – in other words, making it less of a shelter and more of a home.
Which was why, when I heard Steve Levy announce on ESPN, during the Monday Night Football game, that apparently Najee Harris slept on the floor while he attended the University at Alabama. It sounded like one those “up close and personal” anecdotes that you wouldn’t think twice about.
Except … that anecdote about Najee Harris isn’t about Najee Harris. It was about Josh Jacobs, another Alabama football player.
And Najee Harris wasn’t too thrilled about the anecdote.
I mean, to his credit, Steve Levy immediately apologized, and promised a donation to Harris’ charitable foundation.
Look, I get it. Announcers rely on a database of anecdotes and factoids that are provided to them by interns and staffers and whatnot. And again, Steve Levy immediately apologized for the snafu.
But if you really want to talk football, Steve Levy … how about sharing the love that Chris Boswell kicked two 50+ yard field goals in Heinz Field? How about TJ Watt putting enough pressure on Justin Fields to turn him into a parking lot? Or the incredible catches by Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson? Or the emotional comeback for Ray-Ray McCloud, who caught and scored a key first down in the fourth quarter after coughing up a fumble-for-touchdown earlier in the game? Or that new kid Pat Freiermuth, who pulled down two touchdown catches?
The Pittsburgh Steelers – who were left for dead at the start of the season – are now 5-3 and have a more favorable schedule in the second half of the season. Najee Harris is a big reason for that resurgence.
Do not sleep on the talent of Najee Harris.
No matter what you sleep on.