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Najee Harris is not doing himself any favors with Steelers fans and media

The Pittsburgh Steelers fan base can be a fickle bunch, and anyone who has spent any amount of time on Steelers social media knows this is fact, not opinion.

While there are always outliers, the Steelers fans are the type who will turn on a player in an instant, but before I paint the fan base as a bunch of heathens with pitchforks and torches, they will back the black-and-gold unless they feel their loyalty hasn’t been reciprocated. That’s right, the Steelers fan base believes in players who put the team over themselves, who truly believe in the organization, the same organization the fans have rooted for the majority of their lives.

There are some players who clearly don’t follow this same code of conduct, and it has turned many fans against them, for a multitude of reasons.

Most recently? Try Najee Harris.

Since the Steelers declined Najee Harris’ 5th year option this spring, the team’s running back has been silent. How silent? Try not talking to the media since the 2023 season ended in Buffalo with a Wild Card loss to the Bills.

And, to be clear, it isn’t as if the media hasn’t tried to talk to Harris, he just always says he isn’t talking. It’s one of the reasons why Jim Wexell, who is on the SCN podcast network with his Steel City Insider podcast, cannot stand Harris. Wexell isn’t alone either. Many have called Harris “prickly” with the media, and “stand-off-ish”.

I get it, many players don’t like talking to the media, but it is also part of the job. If I’m being honest, I wouldn’t even mind if Harris pulled a play from one of his mentor’s playbooks, Marshawn Lynch, and used the, “I’m just here so I don’t get fined.” line.

But he isn’t even doing that. He’s dodging the media at every turn, and it’s starting to become a bigger deal than it truly should be. This from ESPN’s Brooke Pryor after the team’s final day of minicamp Thursday:

Before going any further, let me make it clear how Harris doesn’t have to speak to the media. During the season there are obligations, but in the offseason players don’t have those same obligations. While some will say, “He shouldn’t say a word to the media if he doesn’t have to!”, that’s fair, but let me also counter that with by him doing so he will be found guilty in the court of public opinion.

Let me give you an example on the current Steelers roster.

Justin Fields, who was once the face of the Chicago Bears franchise, now finds himself in a situation which is likely not considered ideal. While most assume a competition will take place between Fields and Russell Wilson, Fields has to view his new situation as a demotion of sorts. You could imagine why he might not want to talk to media about learning from another quarterback, and the potential of not playing.

Yet there he is, answering question after question at his locker room stall.

Harris has every right to defer all media requests until training camp, but by doing so he is certainly not helping his case with the media and the fan base. I’m not about to draw some crazy conclusion where this somehow means Harris wants out of Pittsburgh, but more so his disgust and disdain for the media. Harris can, and will, do what he wants, but if he ever wonders why fans might not support him as much as other players, well, he just needs to look in the mirror.


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