All eyes appear to be on Pittsburgh Steelers’ big-name rookie running back Najee Harris this off-season.
The top back in the 2021 NFL Draft and one of the best college football players in the country the last two seasons, Harris finds himself on the radar of a number of stars in the NFL despite not playing a single snap in the league to date.
One guy that has his eyes on Harris is future first-ballot Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson, who says Harris is “built different.”
Peterson commented on a post on Bleacher Report about Harris and his work ethic, which has kept running backs coach Eddie Faulkner in the office longer than expected each day due to his commitment to film work and overall preparation ahead of his rookie season.
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) June 11, 2021
To date, Harris’ work ethic and overall commitment to his craft has been pretty impressive. Harris bided his time at Alabama behind another first-round pick in Las Vegas’ Josh Jacobs, eventually returning to school for his senior season in 2020, which most likely first-round backs don’t do.
Following his senior season, Harris was supposed to fly into Alabama for the school’s first Pro Day workout, even though he wasn’t participating in drills. However, his flight was cancelled, so instead he drove nine hours to be with his teammates to show support, which impressed the Steelers and the rest of the NFL.
Once he became a Steeler, Harris impressed head coach Mike Tomlin at rookie minicamp with his overall conditioning and ability to pick things up quickly.
Mike Tomlin on Najee Harris: "Highly conditioned as anybody out there. Great place to begin. Nice foundation from that perspective, sharp guy, football guy, passionate about football."
— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) May 15, 2021
Now, Harris is receiving praise from Peterson, who is known for an incredible work ethic in his own right, dating back to his time at the University of Oklahoma.
Peterson, who previously expressed interest in playing with the Steelers in 2021, blew people around the league away in 2012 when he returned from a gruesome torn ACL to lead the league in rushing with 2,097 rushing yards, resetting the standard for backs returning from major knee injuries in the NFL.
Receiving praise from a guy like Peterson — a physical freak in his own right still to this day — shows Harris is on the right path both on and off the field.