Najee Harris says Steelers aiming to lessen his workload in Year 2: 'I am taking time off'

Workhorse barely begins to define Najee Harris' role with the Pittsburgh Steelers during his rookie season. The running back was the offense's engine and barely came off the field.

Harris led all running backs in snaps and offensive touches as a rookie. He played 929 snaps in the regular season, per Next Gen Stats, a figure he and the team have discussed shrinking in 2022.

"I am taking time off," Harris said, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "I will not be on the field for certain plays. We're still going to talk about that, though. I do want to play. A lot. ... Any time I can. But at the same time, it's all about being smart. So I understand where (Steelers offensive coaches) are coming from."

During his Pro Bowl rookie campaign, Harris rushed 307 times for 1,200 yards and seven touchdowns and added 74 catches for 467 yards and three additional scores.

The history of players with 370-plus touches isn't pretty. Of the previous nine players with that many touches in the past decade, all but Ezekiel Elliott's 2019 campaign saw a regression in production or injuries.

That history is one reason the Steelers will look to give their stud back a few more breathers this season. But running backs coach Eddie Faulkner admitted it's hard to keep talent on the sideline.

"To be honest, and people think I am crazy when I say this, but he's just built for it," Faulkner said, per The Athletic. "I am not saying just physically how he is built, but how he trains. He trains to play a lot of plays in a game."

Last season, no other Steelers player reached the 100-yard mark for the entire campaign -- Benny Snell's 36 carries for 98 yards were second on the team. Finding a back who can take on some of the load without a drastic reduction in play will be the key to giving Harris more breaks. The current backups on the roster are Snell, Anthony McFarland, Trey Edmunds and undrafted free agents Mataeo Durant and Jaylen Warren.

Related Content