Seated before his locker at Cleveland Browns Stadium, a disheartened Najee Harris voiced his frustration regarding his own performance and the offensive inconsistencies plaguing the Steelers in the aftermath of a 13-10 defeat against the Browns.
“There’s a lot of stuff going on that you guys don’t see,” he shared. “I’m just at a point where I’m tired of this situation.”
Harris’ tone marked a departure from his earlier-season rhetoric, where he defended playcalling and urged the offense to improve. Since joining Pittsburgh in 2021, Harris has often been somber and introspective after games, but his postgame remarks on Sunday offered a glimpse into the tensions simmering beneath the surface of one of the league’s struggling offenses.
When asked about the team’s 6-4 record in light of offensive struggles, Harris provided two perspectives. “You could look at the record and say, ‘OK, we’re still good right now.’ Or we could look at the record and be like, ‘If we keep playing this type of football, how long is that going to last?’ I look at it like, ‘How long is that going to last?’ Y’all could look at it like it’s a good record, but I mean, it’s the NFL. Winning like we did won’t get us anywhere.”
Harris acknowledged that the problems are fixable but didn’t express confidence in their resolution. “Is it fixable? Yeah. Are we going to fix it? I don’t know,” he said, shaking his head.
In the loss, Harris had 12 carries for 35 yards, while fellow running back Jaylen Warren excelled with 129 yards on nine carries, including a 74-yard touchdown early in the third quarter. Despite Warren’s success, the Steelers opted not to run the ball when they regained possession with 1:42 remaining, leading to a series of quick incompletions by quarterback Kenny Pickett and a punt back to the Browns, who secured their winning drive.
Harris admitted his struggles, stating, “I couldn’t get things going. It seemed like every time I had it, the defense was playing to minimize my role. Lucky we got Jaylen going.” He noted that defenses were anticipating screens and disrupting the run game.
Even though the Steelers averaged 12.1 yards per touch with Warren on the ball compared to 2.3 without, they chose not to run in the crucial late-game situation. Pickett explained, “In a two-minute situation like that, obviously, you want to throw it.” Coach Mike Tomlin supported the decisions made during the game, including Warren’s limited carries. “We don’t live in our fears. We live. And so, I stand by whatever decisions we had today.”
When asked about not running the ball with 1:38 to go, Harris hesitated before responding softly, “I can’t answer the question.”
Steelers PR attempted to conclude Harris’ availability, but he welcomed further questions. Although he answered inquiries for nearly five minutes as the locker room emptied, what Harris left unsaid was as revealing as his spoken words.
When asked if opposing defenses seemed to predict their plays, Harris hinted at the issue. “Yeah, in some situations, to be honest with you.” Pressed to elaborate, he expressed uncertainty: “I just don’t know what to do. I’m stuck in this situation where I don’t have an answer to it. All I can do is ride this wave.”