The Pittsburgh Steelers were back on the field, sort of, Saturday when the nine rookies, eight undrafted rookie free agents and a handful of rookie camp tryout players took to the UMPC Rooney Sports Complex for the second day of Rookie Minicamp.
Naturally, there wasn’t much news on the second day of the rookies getting acquainted with their new surroundings and teammates. Nonetheless, with the limited information put out to the public, we package some nuggets of information to give you a small taste of Steelers football.
Let’s dive right in...
Najee Harris is...well...Najee
After Rookie Minicamp Day 2 wrapped up, the Steelers put their prized first round draft pick in front of the media for the first time since he was drafted. Harris displayed a media savvy few ever show, and he has only been a professional for a few weeks.
To try and show what Harris brought to the media session I felt it would be best to just share some of what the media thought when speaking to the former Crimson Tide running back.
Najee Harris says the Steelers' offense is similar to the one they ran when he was at Alabama— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) May 15, 2021
Najee Harris said that the Steelers seem to want to use him in the passing game a lot and split him out wide as the X receiver.— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) May 15, 2021
Najee Harris on transition to NFL: "We've got hella free time compared to Alabama."— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) May 15, 2021
Asked if he strives to be a leader in the NFL like he was @ Bama, or if as a rookie he just wants to blend in:— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) May 15, 2021
"I would never try to blend in nowhere. I would always try to stand out..But being a leader, that's just something that comes in time. I don't even know the offense yet"
Najee was equally surprised to be asked if he does those one-handed catches often. Says that's just what he does. https://t.co/e0gNSwe3j0— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) May 15, 2021
Now he's complimenting @TimBenzPGH's fancy microphone on Zoom! Asked if he's doing a live podcast right now. Najee Harris keeping everyone on our toes.— Brian Batko (@BrianBatko) May 15, 2021
Najee is one of those players who will keep the media on its toes. Certain athletes, you gotta be "on your game" when you ask questions.— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) May 15, 2021
He'll give good insights and smart answers. But feel like you better be on point, or he'll call you out
Najee = funny dude— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) May 15, 2021
Najee Harris: "In college, the competition level is nowhere near the NFL. So I always tell myself I need to start back at Step 1."— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) May 15, 2021
Najee Harris was asked if the Steelers will be more committed to running the ball in short-yardage or goal-line situations now that they have him. Not sure you can answer that question better than this.— Brian Batko (@BrianBatko) May 15, 2021
“I’m just trying to get my feet wet, man. I’m a rookie.” pic.twitter.com/P5LQ4sdrdj
Najee on Coach T
Just because you were a team’s top draft pick doesn’t mean the player will find his new home enjoyable, and like the coach who selected him. As if there was any question, Najee Harris is a big fan of Mike Tomlin. Tomlin is a player’s coach, and while some view this as a negative, it doesn’t have to be. In fact, in today’s modern era of sports, I might suggest it is more important than ever to be able to relate, and connect, with your players.
Let Harris describe his interactions with Tomlin, via Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
Steelers first-rd pick Najee Harris on his first impressions of coach Mike Tomlin pic.twitter.com/pI4t0FmaLF— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) May 15, 2021
Coach Tomlin on Najee
As Harris was talking about Coach Tomlin, Tomlin was also talking about Harris. Tomlin has never been one to splice his words when talking about rookies. He frequently talks about rookies coming into camp and not being in great condition. For those who are curious, being in great shape is not the same as being in great condition. Someone who is in great shape might look great, but not be highly conditioned for strenuous activity.
When Tomlin described Harris, he talked about his being “highly conditioned as anybody out there.” That’s a legitimate compliment to the team’s top draft pick. This from Brooke Pryor of ESPN:
Mike Tomlin on Najee Harris: "Highly conditioned as anybody out there. Great place to begin. Nice foundation from that perspective, sharp guy, football guy, passionate about football."— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) May 15, 2021
Quincy Roche trying to convert his family
Najee Harris isn’t the only rookie to step up in front of the media Saturday. 6th round pick Quincy Roche also spoke to media members, and as a person who grew up in Baltimore as a Ravens fan, he is doing his best to convert his family.
With some help from the Steelers, he has been delivering some Terrible Towels to family members. I’d suggest he probably still has some work to do...
Rookie OLB Quincy Roche grew up in a house of Ravens fans.— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) May 15, 2021
"They (presumably, the Steelers) sent me a box of Terrible Towels, so I passed it around to everybody. Everybody in my house got one."
Q from the U on No. 48
When the Steelers announced their rookie uniform numbers, there were several numbers which made people shake their head. Kendrick Green getting Maurkice Pouncey’s 53 was one, and Roche getting Bud Dupree’s 48 was another. According to Roche, he didn’t really choose the number...it was just the best number available.
Steelers rookie OLB Quincy Roche said he watched tape and had seen Bud Dupree play.— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) May 15, 2021
He's wearing No. 48 for the Steelers, like Bud did.
"I didn't really pick his number; it was kind of just the best number available."
Rookie linemen, Rookie OLine coach
While the rookies try to put their best foot forward, and try to make an impression, it might be easy to forget someone like Adrian Klemm. Klemm is getting his first real repetitions as the head offensive line coach for the Steelers. This isn’t to say he is ill prepared. He played in the NFL, and was the assistant offensive line coach for the Steelers under Shaun Sarrett before taking over in 2021. Needless to say, he is getting his feet wet at the same time as the rookies.
Mike Tomlin, Najee Harris talk to media after second day of rookie minicamp morning workouts. pic.twitter.com/qdmz8QBSmA— Joe Rutter (@tribjoerutter) May 15, 2021
Rookie minicamp is about learning.— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) May 15, 2021
Today Najee Harris learned:
A) media members are at practice: “Man I thought y’all were boosters. ... that’s crazy.”
And B) Most of us just cover the Steelers: “Bro. What? Where are you from?” pic.twitter.com/67hKxhv52A
Mike Tomlin spent some time with his top-drafted rookie during stretch today. pic.twitter.com/nkmtoSYvwC— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) May 15, 2021
Out here grinding— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 15, 2021