During an interview with Najee Harris, the Pittsburgh Steelers running back revealed that he was not at all hampered by a foot injury he suffered in training camp.
Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Najee Harris for an interview. As you can imagine Pittsburgh Steelers running back is frustrated with how things have been going so far during the 2022 season. As this 2-6 team is set to prepare for their ninth game of the season against the New Orleans Saints following a bye, Najee helped clear up a few questions fans have had for much of this season.
One of the biggest things Steelers fans wanted to know is how much Harris was affected by a pedal Lisfranc foot sprain he suffered back on August 1st during training camp. Apparently, fans and the media alike were making this minor injury out to be a much bigger deal than it actually was.
In the middle of my conversation with Najee, I asked him if he thought the foot injury affected his performance at all this year. His answer was clear and too to the point: “No. No sir.”
I didn’t know what to think of this response. I half expected Najee to give some sort of explanation of how he has been hampered or slowed down by the foot injury that caused him to miss practice time. However, despite wearing a steel plate in his shoe for much of the season to this point, Harris admitted that the foot injury never affected his play at all.
What is the reason for Najee’s struggles on Steelers this year?
For most of the season, fans and writers alike eluded to Najee Harris’s Lisfranc sprain as the reason for his lack of production and efficiency. We can’t use this as an excuse anymore. From his own admission, this never bothered him during the season.
After a productive rookie season in which he led the NFL with 381 total touches on offense to go with nearly 1,700 scrimmage yards, Harris is on the pace for just 767 rushing yards this season and just over 1,000 scrimmage yards.
But it’s not just his raw numbers that have been suffering. Harris has been very inefficient as a runner this year as well. Entering Week 10, he ranks 64th in true yards per carry, 59th in yards per touch, 46th in yards created per touch, 34th in yards above replacement, and 32nd in run-success rate, according to advanced stats from Football Outsiders and PlayerProfiler.
This isn’t to say that the former Pro Bowl running back can’t improve, but his season has certainly been underwhelming thus far. It’s also hard to pinpoint the reasoning. Has his game been affected by the offensive line, play calling, and situational running? It’s certainly possible. However, Najee’s vision has also come into question at times this season and the team simply hasn’t produced any explosive runs.
We are glad to hear that Najee Harris has been healthy and hasn’t been affected by the Lisfranc foot sprain he suffered during training camp. But at the same time, it’s a little bit discouraging knowing that this hasn’t bothered him, and yet he has still failed to yield the desired results we all hoped for. Let’s hope he turns it around soon.