In Week 3 against the Cincinnati Bengals, Harris recorded 142 all purpose yards, including 14 catches in 19 targets. This tied the NFL record for most catches in a game for a rookie running back, and were the second-highest amount of targets for a running back since 1992 (when the data was first tracked). In Week 5 against the Denver Broncos, Harris recorded 122 yards on 23 carries and a rushing touchdown in the 27–19 win. It marked his first game rushing over 100 yards. He became the first Steelers' rookie to score a rushing touchdown and record 100 yards rushing on his first five games, since Franco Harris in 1972. In Week 17, Harris ran for a career-high 188 yards and the game-sealing touchdown in a 26–14 win over the Cleveland Browns.
Najee Jerome Harris (/ˈnɑːdʒi/ NAH-jee; born March 9, 1998) is an American football running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Alabama and was selected by the Steelers in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Harris was considered the #1 recruit in the class of 2017, by Scout and Rivals. 247Sports rated him as the No. 2 overall recruit behind Jaelan Phillips while ESPN ranked him the No. 11 overall recruit. Harris received offers from multiple top football programs including the Alabama Crimson Tide, Michigan Wolverines, Ohio State Buckeyes, USC Trojans, and Notre Dame Fighting Irish. He committed to the Alabama Crimson Tide in 2015. Harris was one of the most hyped running back recruits since Bryce Brown in 2009 and Leonard Fournette in 2014. Multiple recruiting experts compared him to Adrian Peterson.
Harris played high school football at Antioch High School in Antioch, California. As a sophomore in 2014, Harris rushed for 2,263 yards with 23 touchdowns. As a junior he had 2,744 rushing yards and 36 touchdowns. As a senior, he had 2,776 rushing yards and 34 touchdowns.
In January 2019, Harris signed with Beast Mode Marketing, the marketing agency of former NFL running back Marshawn Lynch.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, Alabama's season was cut to an all-conference, ten-game season beginning on September 26. In 2020, Harris was the starting running back for the Alabama Crimson Tide. He and Robinson continued to have a large majority of the backfield carries. In the regular season opener against the Missouri Tigers, Harris had 17 attempts for 98 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns in the 38–19 victory. His best game of the season was against Ole Miss, where he attempted 23 rushes for 206 rushing yards with five rushing touchdowns in the 63–48 victory. Against the Georgia Bulldogs he ran for 31 attempts with 152 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown and 4.9 yards on average in the 41–24 victory. In the following game against Tennessee, he had 157 scrimmage yards and three rushing touchdowns in the 48–17 victory. On December 5, against LSU, he had 21 carries for 145 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns in the 55–17 victory. In the SEC Championship, he had 245 scrimmage yards (178 rushing, 67 receiving) and five total touchdowns in the 52–46 victory. He finished fifth in Heisman Trophy voting. Alabama went 11–0 and qualified for the College Football Playoff as the #1 seed. In the Semifinals, the Rose Bowl against Notre Dame, Harris had 15 carries for 125 rushing yards in the 31–14 victory. In the national championship, Harris had 158 scrimmage yards and three total touchdowns in the 52–24 victory over Ohio State to earn his second national championship. Harris finished his career as the all-time leader in rushing yards (3,843), total scrimmage yards (4,624) and touchdowns (57) for the Crimson Tide. He was a unanimous All-American and won the Doak Walker Award.
Harris graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in Consumer Services in 2020. During his last college football season, Harris began celebrating touchdowns by striking the iconic World Cup pose of Megan Rapinoe. He mentioned finding Rapinoe's views on feminism and standing for her beliefs as "motivating" and "inspirational".
In 2021, Harris founded the nonprofit organization Da' Bigger Picture Foundation along with assistance from California governor Gavin Newsome, which provides assistance to families impacted by homelessness and hunger.
Harris was selected in the first round with the 24th overall in the 2021 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was the first running back selected. On May 25, 2021, Harris signed his rookie contract with the Steelers, worth $13.1 million including a $6.9 million signing bonus over four years.
Harris got off to a slow start in 2022. Through the first eight games of the season, he only managed to eclipse 50 rushing yards three times and scored three total touchdowns. It brought into question whether the Lisfranc sprain he suffered in training camp was affecting his production, although Harris claimed that was not the case. Following the team's bye week, he would go on to rush for more than 50 yards in seven of the last nine games and score seven total touchdowns. His best game of the season came in a Week 17 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens. Harris rushed for a season high 111 yards and caught the game winning touchdown from rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett with less than a minute to play.