Najee Harris is now a member of the Steelers. The former Alabama running back was taken with the No. 24 overall pick during the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. As good of a player as Pittsburgh is getting on the field, his off-the-field reputation might be even better.
Harris is known as a guy with a sense of humor, but he’s also a great person. That was once again proven after he visited a homeless shelter on Thursday. It wasn’t just any shelter though. This was the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program — or GRIP.
It’s the place Harris lived for awhile with his parents and four of his siblings growing up.
“Just to see him as a grown man with this kind of opportunity for him today and to know that he lived in this shelter among many other places their family had to move around and lives as a homeless man just speaks to [the thought that] anything is possible,” Kathleen Sullivan, executive director of GRIP, told ABC 7 News.
The homeless shelter hosted a NFL draft watch party in honor of Harris, and he thanked them by showing up. He also provided them with food in order to give to those in need. If you know Harris, that move isn’t surprising.
“There was a time I needed a helping hand,” Harris said. “They gave us an opportunity to get back on our feet, so it is my job to give back.”
Stories such as this one are what make sports great. Harris has been given a rare opportunity — one that he’s earned — to make money few could ever dream of. He understands that, and he wants to pay those people back who have helped him and his family during a time of need.
“It was really emotional for my mom,” Harris said in the interview, via SI. “Almost as if she was crying, in a way, because we have a lot of memories here. That was a time in my life when it was really low.”
Whatever team drafts Alabama's Najee Harris is getting a special person. Today he threw a draft party for kids at the homeless shelter where he lived for several years growing up. He told me it was emotional the first time he went back to visit. @kron4news #NFLDraft #RollTide pic.twitter.com/JadBIFh4pd
— Kylen Mills (@KylenMills) April 30, 2021
Pittsburgh is long way from Antioch, California where Harris grew up, but so is Alabama.
The Doak Walker Award winner will now be providing the Steelers offense with something they haven’t had consistently since Le’Veon Bell left in free agency back in March of 2019. He’ll be an impactful, powerful runner between the tackles, but can also give plenty out of the backfield as a receiver.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.