In recent years, coaches have had important running backs sit out preseason games to ensure they’ll be healthy once the regular season starts.
But that apparently will not be the case for the Steelers and their rookie back, Najee Harris.
Head coach Mike Tomlin said during his Tuesday press conference that Harris could be on the field for all four preseason games. The Steelers and Cowboys will face off in the Hall of Fame game on Thursday night.
“He’s a rookie,” Tomlin said, via Brian Batko of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Man, he needs the process of game preparation and ultimately play. We’ve got four opportunities for him to do that.”
Harris was the 24th overall pick for Pittsburgh in this year’s draft after four years at Alabama. He rushed for 1,466 yards and 26 touchdowns in 2020, also making 43 receptions for 425 yards.
After Pittsburgh finished the 2020 season dead last in rushing, averaging just 3.6 yards per carry, Harris will be a critical piece for the team’s offense in 2021. It sounds like Tomlin wants to make sure he’s ready to carry the load.