It's not every day that an NFL rookie gets his praise sung by one of the sport's all-time great players. However, that's exactly what happened to Pittsburgh Steelers rookie running back Najee Harris on Thursday.
According to Bleacher Report Gridiron, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said that Steelers RB coach Eddie Faulkner had to force Harris to leave practice after the rookie stayed behind for hours. Adrian Peterson, one of the best RBs of all time, replied to B/R Gridiron, saying that Harris is "built different."
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When it comes to running backs being "built different," nobody knows more about that than Peterson. The 36-year-old has been a workhorse throughout his career, with his 14,820 career rushing yards ranking 5th all-time in league history. The fact that he complimented Harris the way that he did should give the rookie some confidence heading into his first NFL season.
The fact is that the Steelers are hoping that Harris' talents can help improve their running game. Pittsburgh was the worst team on the ground last season, averaging a league-low 82.5 rushing yards per game. Fortunately, Harris proved just how much he can improve an offense over his final two years with the Alabama Crimson Tide. He recorded 3,419 total yards from scrimmage between 2019 and 2020, adding a whopping 50 touchdowns in that span. Those numbers will be near-impossible to reach in the NFL, but Pittsburgh is hoping that he can breathe some new life into their backfield.
Harris currently has +1300 odds to win the 2021 Offensive Rookie of the Year Award, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, giving him the best shot of winning it out of every rookie running back.
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