Coming to the NFL, there’s plenty that can surprise you. A new playbook, new teammates, the recognition you’re a professional and no longer a college kid going to football practice after Algebra. But some of the things that have surprised RB Najee Harris the most has nothing to do with football. Much of it revolves around the Pittsburgh culture.
Harris spoke with Steelers.com’s Missi Matthews about what’s surprised him the most about his new life.
“The term “yinzer,” he said. “And the Primanti sandwiches. The fries and the coleslaw. I mean, there’s a lot of stuff. I can keep going on about what surprises me. I mean, I didn’t know there was so many damn hills here. So that surprises me too. I want to know how people get up them when it’s snowing. I want to see that I want what that’s like. There’s hella bridges.”
Welcome to Pittsburgh, Najee.
He’s already gotten a taste of the town, touring the city shortly after arriving like first round picks do. Last night, he took in his first hockey game, going full “Yinzer” with the Penguins’ jersey, Pirates’ hat, and waving a Terrible Towel (though he needs to work on getting the twirl down pat).
This will be Harris’ first time living in this part of the country. He grew up in the Bay Area before committing to Alabama. The northeast is a far cry from those two places. Harris will have to deal with cold weather for one of the first times. Weeks ago, he said he’s played in at least one snow game in his life. But in Pittsburgh, that’s going to become a lot more common.
That’s the other adjustment we rarely think about when evaluating rookies. The on-field stuff is obvious and no doubt, can be a challenge. Harris is better equipped to handle it than most considering he came from an NFL-lite program like Alabama and had plenty of new offensive coordinators and systems to learn there. But the off-field obstacles shouldn’t be forgotten. Living on your own, finding an apartment, paying bills, the whole “adulting” thing that gets overlooked when discussing these guys in their early 20s.
But by all accounts, Harris has begun embracing the city. And it seems like the city loves him back. Pittsburgh looks good on Najee Harris.