California Native Najee Harris Dealing With Frigid Pittsburgh Temps: ‘It’s Hella Cold’

“It’s hella cold” – Najee Harris, 2022.

Yes it is, Najee.

Though this isn’t Harris’ first winter in Pittsburgh, it’s by far his coldest. Growing up in California and then playing college football in Alabama, Harris is getting the true Steel City experience. With temps – as of this writing – sitting below zero before even factoring in a wind chill that has it feeling like negative 27 degrees Harris said what we’re all thinking.

“I walked outside today,” he said as shared by The Trib’s Chris Adamski. “It’s hella cold. I’m not gonna lie to you. It wasn’t like that at Alabama.”

In fact, it was so cold today the Steelers closed off practice and held virtual meetings, a throwback to 2020, so that’s why Harris is speaking over Zoom and not in-person. Of course, by this time next week, Pittsburgh temps will nearly crack 60 which if that doesn’t sum up the city’s climate, I don’t know what else will.

Friday is one of the coldest days Pittsburgh’s experienced in years and tomorrow’s contest against the Las Vegas Raiders will be one of the chilliest in team history. It’ll be the coldest game since 1989 with expected to hover around 10 degrees by kickoff. But high winds will make it feel like it’s well-below zero, testing the will of each team physically and mentally.

The good news is the Raiders have even less experience with the cold than Harris does. While Las Vegas can get chilly, they usually aren’t playing games in that type of weather they’ll be experiencing tomorrow night. There’s likely to be a lot more players wearing sleeves on the Raiders side than you see with the Steelers, though even Pittsburgh’s gotten soft in recent years compared to the time you used to be fined $15k per sleeve for doing so. 

Given the low temps and high winds, the running game could be more of a focal point than usual for both sides. Pittsburgh’s done well to establish a ground game since the bye, running 45 times in last Sunday’s win over the Carolina Panthers. That tied a Mike Tomlin-era record. The Raiders have a more formidable passing game but RB Josh Jacobs is having a career season and will surpass the 1500 yard mark early in this contest.

Tomorrow’s game means everything for both sides. The loser of this game will see their season come to an end while the victor will have renewed hope though still a long path to the playoffs. But the only thing worse than playing in the cold is losing in the cold and it’s a fate both sides want to avoid tomorrow night.

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