(Photo via Najee Harris' Instagram)
Najee Harris came from a football-crazed atmosphere at Alabama, as the Crimson Tide have a deep and passionate fan base, but Harris says Steelers Nation just takes it to another level. Harris got his first real glimpse of the black and gold faithful this past week with the Steelers having open training camp practices at Heinz Field.
"The fan base here is unmatched," Harris said. "I came from Alabama. We have a big fan base, but here in Pittsburgh they're kind of a little bit more crazy than 'Bama was. They love their sports - hockey, baseball and football. Seeing the fan love is always something good, to see they support their teams."
Shortly after he was drafted, Harris talked about wanting to make an impact in the Pittsburgh community and helping those who are less fortunate. Harris has been a beacon in his native Bay Area when it comes to helping and advocating for the homeless.
"To be a part of the community is such a big deal. I spoke about this so many times because for me, I want to feel like I'm somebody people can talk to in situations I was once in," Harris said. "Being a part of the community to let people see that I'm not too big for something, that it will play a role in somebody's life, some little kid, somebody who's struggled. I want to be somebody that somebody can lean on.
"I want everyone to know that I can't sign everything for people hollering my name. It's part of the protocol. I'm sorry. There'll be a time when I can talk to the community more, but right now this is my rookie year. I'm trying to get my feet wet. I'm trying to do what makes Pittsburgh happy, the GM happy, Ben happy, the team happy. That's what's most important right now. There's going to be a time for all that other stuff, but right now I'm just trying to accomplish the mission."
With being the first-round pick and focal point of saving the Steelers' ailing run game, it's not a surprise that Harris is already a fan favorite. On top of that, however, he's just such a likable guy and does tremendous work off the field. His sessions with the media so far have been spectacular also, just real genuine. Steelers Nation has something really special with Harris -- both on and off the field.