The comments former Pittsburgh Steelers safety and current ESPN analyst Ryan Clark made on Monday following the Steelers’ 41-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals sure made headlines and raised some eyebrows across the country.
Clark, who played for the Steelers from 2006 to 2013, questioned the Steelers’ mentality on both sides of the football, stating the black and gold weren’t physical like the standard expects.
On Friday at the Steelers’ practice facility on the South Side, Steelers’ rookie running back Najee Harris was asked about Clark’s comments by beat reporter Christopher Carter. Harris, as per usual, played it cool, answering perfectly while not giving it too much attention overall.
“I mean, I don’t be on social media too much, or really look at the TV or anything,” Harris said to reporters Friday, according to audio provided by the team. “So, I mean, this is kind of new to me. I can’t speak for the team because we haven’t really talked about it, but…his concern, he’s a former player here. So I mean, obviously he has a voice cause you know, he’s part of the tradition I would say. We respect everything he say. But…we’re just trying to win games around here.”
Harris certainly doesn’t seem like a guy that is too worried about what’s being said or talked about on social media these days, which feels like the right overall approach for young players. That said, it’s hard to believe Carter’s question was news to him about what Clark said on Monday. That had to be talked about in the locker room at one point or another this week.
Clark certainly has a voice and was a big key to success for the Steelers in the early stages of the Mike Tomlin era, which happened to have one of the greatest defenses in franchise and NFL history in 2008. He has a right to state his opinion, and his opinion should carry some weight in that locker room when it comes to the standard the players are expected to uphold in Pittsburgh now and into the future.
But the Steelers are doing what they can with the cards they were dealt. Some might not like to read that, but it feels pretty close to the truth at this point. This team isn’t very good, and the lack of depth is killing them in the trenches. As Harris says, the Steelers are trying to win games, and that’s certainly true. They’re just not good enough to right now.