Najee Harris says he clashed with Nick Saban at Alabama: 'I felt like I was belittled'

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By , Audacy

Nick Saban is certainly not the easiest head coach to play for and Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris can certainly confirm that.

The 24-year-old Pro Bowler revealed on “The Pivot Podcast” that he would often clash heads with his head coach at Alabama and would even push back against him when he felt Saban took things too far.

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“Me and Saban, we did not get along at first,” Harris said. “We had a couple arguments but he didn’t understand who I was at first…but I’m not the type of dude to sit back and let somebody, talk to me, in a certain way and not expect me to say something.

“I can take coaching, but, like, it’s just a certain type of line when you cross, like all right, bro, I’m a man, you ain’t gon’ f---ing talk to me like that.”

Harris said the first time Saban chewed him out he thought, “motherf---er, who do you think you’re talking to like that? I was like, ‘Look, coach. Coach me. …don’t try to belittle me.’  I felt like I was belittled.”

Harris, who said he had a tendency to get in fights there, said this happened every year between him and Saban and things reached at tipping point his senior year — amid the COVID-19 pandemic — that caused Harris to leave school.

“Something happened and I was like, ‘Man, I’m not messing with y’all. I’m gone,’” he said. “So I left school for like two weeks. People didn’t know that. …Then Saban sat me in his office and was like, we exchanged words, and he really took the time to understand who I was and from that day [on] we were rock solid.”

Harris said that playing under Mike Tomlin in the NFL has been a totally different experience.

“Two different people,” Harris said. “Mike T actually sat down and get to know the players in a way. Coach Saban, it’s nothing bad, it’s just how he is. …They’re just two different players. They both wanna win. Just how they approach the game, approach the locker room vibes and the players, it’s just two different things.”

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