Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris got his first action of the preseason in Sunday’s 19-9 win over the Detroit Lions, and the second-year running back said it was good to get back on the field, via a tweet from Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
“It was good to get back out there. Kind of rusty, a little bit, I’ll say, I’ve been down for about four weeks,” Harris said. “I had a sprained Lisfranc, so that’s why I was out for the majority of the camp, so to get back there in the motions and stuff like that, I feel really rusty, I wasn’t too happy about my performance,” Harris said.
It was the first time that Harris publicly revealed what his foot injury was, and hearing that it was a sprained Lisfranc makes me feel a whole lot better that it wasn’t worse. If the injury was a fractured Lisfranc, it’s likely Harris would’ve been out for the season. Last year, Jacksonville Jaguars running back Travis Etienne missed the season with a serious Lisfranc injury, and it’s good for the Steelers that Harris’ injury didn’t rise to that level.
Still, despite him not being happy with his performance, Harris looked fine out there. He had some good runs and contributed in the passing game with three receptions. He didn’t get a ton of help from the offensive line, but for his first live game action, I think Harris looked like he’s going to be ready for the regular season.
Harris is going to need to be a stud again for the Steelers if they want to have a successful season. With a new quarterback under center, Harris is going to have be a guy who can help churn out drives and routinely pick up 4-5 yards. The offensive line might not be a lot of help, but Harris is a powerful runner who can break through tackles and fall forward for extra yards. There’s going to have to be a lot of that for the Steelers to be successful this year.
Harris’ injury underscores the need for the team to find someone reliable to take carries away from him. The team is going to need to prevent Harris from getting too much tread on his tires and getting hit too much. If he does, then these injury scares might become reality. Pittsburgh needs Harris healthy, and to make that happen, either Jaylen Warren or Benny Snell Jr. is going to have to step up as a reliable second ball carrier.