PITTSBURGH -- Alabama running back Najee Harris was not a consensus first round pick, but that’s not why he didn’t go to Cleveland to be a part of the NFL Draft.
Harris was in Oakland, California and for the first part of the day at a homeless shelter. The one his family once lived in.
Harris actually showed up late to his family draft party later in the day. He needed to let the people in the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program shelter know he has their back, even on his big day.
“I wanted to make sure that I could give back to the community and show them if y'all still need anything, like I'm never too big or too whatever to help you guys out,” Harris said. “I'm always going to be the helping hand.”
Even after getting drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers across the river from a suburb called Oakland. He wanted those back in California to know he would still be helping them.
“I've got my marketing team, my agency is out here, and since I'll be in Pittsburgh they'll be back here,” Harris said. “If they need any support they can reach out to them if I'm busy and eventually it'll get back to me.”
When Harris was 12 years-old, he and his four siblings and parents spent time at that shelter.
“That was important,” Harris said Thursday. “Us as a family, we went through a lot of stuff. That was actually one of the places I stayed at, in the homeless shelter. I just want to make sure they know that if they need a helping hand. I'm always here.”
Harris handed out pizzas and other food, but it may be the hope his presence brought that meant more than the nourishment. He wants to do the same in our community.
“In Pittsburgh I have never lived there, I've never been over there before,” Harris said. “All I know is about the football. I'm always hoping to learn new things. I want to see what ways I can help in the community and ways and stuff like that, having food banks, just doing stuff in the area where I can just help out people off-the-field wise stuff, too. Just really stuff like that, giving back to the community.”
Given the generosity we’ve seen from Steelers players, seems like the West Coast kid who played football in Alabama is going to fit in really well in Pittsburgh.