Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris has found himself a training camp spectator at halfway point of the 2022 ramp up process to the regular season and that’s due to him not practicing the last several days due to a left foot injury suffered a week ago. After the team’s Saturday camp practice at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex in Pittsburgh, Harris, who had to watch the session on the side once again, attempted to put a positive spin on his unfortunate situation due to his foot injury.
“It’s been pretty frustrating,” Harris said about missing practices, according to Teresa Varley of steelers.com. “There’s a lot of other guys who get to come in here and get to see their skill sets. It’s a blessing in disguise in a way. Not to get hurt, but to see other younger guys get reps.”
Before suffering his left foot injury last week in a practice at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Harris, who figures to be heavily used once again in 2022 after nearly 400 touches in his 2021 rookie season, seemed to be having a solid start to training camp. After Saturday’s practice, the former first round draft pick out of Alabama was asked to give his thoughts on his camp performance up until suffering his foot injury.
“I think it was pretty good, but I got stepped on,” said Harris. “It all went out the door when I got stepped on. Back to square one. I’ve got to re-condition myself with pads because I have been out for almost a week now.”
As part of him working toward getting himself back on the field, Harris said on Saturday that he will be doing run conditioning in pads in addition to some swimming and to the tune of 30 laps.
“I might be out here for like 40 minutes, running with pads on, Harris said, according to Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
The good news when it comes to Harris and his foot injury as the team enters an off day on Sunday is that it does not seem to be too serious and thus it shouldn’t keep him from being ready for the Week 1 road game against the Cincinnati Bengals. It’s also not like Harris has anything to prove during training camp so his absence in practices will afford the younger running backs more opportunities.
The Steelers first preseason game of 2022 will take place next Saturday in Pittsburgh and even if Harris returns to practice before then, there’s zero chance he would see action in that contest at Acrisure Stadium against the Seattle Seahawks.
When the Steelers resume their training camp practices on Monday at Saint Vincent College, it will be interesting to see if Harris is able to up his participation level to more than it was this past week. If he’s unable to, there might be a good chance that Harris has seen his last full participation practice in training camp this year. That wouldn’t be a big deal, however, as long as he’s in prime physical condition by September 11. In the meantime, it sounds like a lot of running in pads and laps in the pool will be in Harris’ future in addition to him supporting and helping the other running backs on the roster.