Report: Najee Harris Wants Out of Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers reportedly fulfilled an unusual request for their star running back.
Jan 15, 2024; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris (22) runs
Jan 15, 2024; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris (22) runs / Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
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PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers surprised many when they declined the fifth-year contract option for star running back Najee Harris, but according to one report, it might not have been their decision.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Paul Ziese said on 93.7 The Fan this week that Harris actually asked the Steelers to decline the team option on his rookie contract so that he could pursue other opportunities in free agency next season.

“Little birdie said Najee Harris actually asked for the Steelers to decline his fifth-year option because he would like to go play somewhere else,” Zeise said, adding that he heard it from the same source that told him the Steelers would acquire quarterback Justin Fields this offseason.

While Harris has been massively productive for the Steelers, rushing for more than 1,000 yards in each of his three seasons as a pro since being drafted in the first round by the Steelers as he was coming out of Alabama. But with the emergence of Jaylen Warren, a dynamic former undrafted free agent, many believe the Steelers could afford to not pay Harris the $6.7 million his fifth-year option would demand and ride Warren and a young, talented offensive line to similar rushing production for cheap.

Harris could then hit free agency, likely earn more money on the open market and field offers from team closer to his hometown in the San Francisco Bay Area.

It's unlikely that Harris or the Steelers would ever admit to this report being true, but there seems to be positives for both sides in declining the fifth-year option for the former Pro Bowler.

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Stephen Thompson


Stephen Thompson graduated with a bachelor's degree in communications and political science from Pitt in April 2022 after spending four years as a sports writer and editor at The Pitt News, the University of Pittsburgh's independent, student-run newspaper. He primarily worked the Pitt men's basketball beat, and filled in on coverage of football, volleyball, softball, gymnastics and lacrosse, in addition to other sports as needed. His work at The Pitt News has won awards from the Pennsylvania News Media Association and Associated College Press. During the spring and summer of 2021, Stephen interned for Pittsburgh Sports Now, covering baseball in western Pennsylvania. Hailing from Washington D.C., family ties have cultivated a love of Boston's professional teams and Pitt athletics, and a fascination with sports in general.