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2023 Steelers Exit Interviews: Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2023 NFL season has come to a close. Because the Steelers are among the 31 teams who did not finish fulfilling their ultimate goal, they are in the process of wrapping up their season and moving forward into 2024.

Since the Steelers conduct exit interviews with all their players, and the fact I have done these articles in the past, we thought we would do the same here at Steel Curtain Network. By outlining two players each day, we will be able to look at their season in retrospect as well as looking toward the future. Since Coach Tomlin has previously stated he starts his interviews with rookies and those heading into free agency, we will attempt to do the same to some degree. To start, we will pair the most recent draftees with another player at the same position (if possible) as we work through this process to eventually cover the entire Steelers roster.

Next up are running backs Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren.

Najee Harris

Position: Running Back
Years with the Steelers: 3
Years in the NFL: 3
Contract Status: Signed through 2024 with a possible fifth-year option
Contract Details: $4,151,460 salary cap hit for 2024. Would cost the Steelers all $4,151,460 in dead money if released.
Games played in 2023: 17 regular season
Games started in 2023: 17 regular season
Snaps (regular season): 569 (offense), 4 (special teams)
PFF score: 76.2 (21st of 60)
Notable stats: During the regular season, Harris had 1,035 rushing yards on 255 carries with 8 touchdowns. Harris added 170 receiving yards on 29 receptions from 38 targets.

Notes: Harris is coming off of his third-straight 1,000 yard rushing season to begin his career as well as having at least 1,200 yards from scrimmage. While Harris saw one more rushing yard this year on 17 less carries, he also had one more rushing touchdown than either of his first two seasons. But Harris was down in the total touchdown department as he had three receiving touchdowns each of his first two years but took a step back in the receiving category this season. This could have been due to more usage of Jaylen Warren, which appears to benefit Harris greatly. Down almost 100 touches from his rookie season to 2023, Harris no longer has the same concern over being vastly overworked. The biggest question for Najee Harris now comes to the Steelers choice in picking up his fifth-year option by May 2.

Jaylen Warren

Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Position: Running Back
Years with the Steelers: 2
Years in the NFL: 2
Contract Status: Signed through 2024 and will become a restricted free agent
Contract Details: $989,000 salary cap hit for 2024. Would cost the Steelers $4,000 in dead money if released and save $985,000.
Games played in 2023: 17 regular season
Games started in 2023: 0 regular season
Snaps (regular season): 519 (offense), 66 (special teams)
PFF score: 78.5 (13th of 60)
Notable stats: During the regular season, Warren had 784 rushing yards on 149 carries with 4 touchdowns. Warren added 370 receiving yards on 61 receptions from 74 targets.

Notes: As much of a complementary running back Jaylen Warren was in his rookie season of 2022, he took it to the next level in 2023. Being the first pair of Steelers running backs to have at least 1,000 scrimmage yards in the same season since Walter Abercrombie and Frank Pollard in 1985, Warren and Harris actually went over 1,100 yards each which has only been done one time in franchise history with Rocky Bleier and Franco Harris in 1976. Jaylen Warren came on even stronger in the passing game this year which minimized Harris’ use. Doubling his touches from 105 to 210, Jaylen Warren is a great example of an overachieving undrafted free agent. But as much as Steelers’ Nation loves Warren, part of his success comes due to working together with Najee Harris and the roles each other has in the Steelers offense has greatly benefited them both.

Make sure you check back each day for another set of exit interviews. If you have missed any of the previous articles, they are listed here:

Broderick Jones & Chuks Okorafor
Joey Porter Jr. & Levi Wallace
Keeanu Benton & Montravius Adams
Darnell Washington & Rodney Williams
Nick Herbig & Markus Golden
Cory Trice Jr. & James Pierre
Spencer Anderson & Dylan Cook
Kenny Pickett & Mason Rudolph
George Pickens & Miles Boykin
DeMarvin Leal & Armon Watts
Calvin Austin III & Allen Robinson
Connor Heyward & Godwin Igwebuike
Mark Robinson & Blake Martinez


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