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Blog of the week 18: wait-and-see approach

A young chef: In a season where many Steelers rookies have seen their playing time extended, no one has stood out like running back Najee Harris.

And that’s exactly why Harris was voted the winner of the Joe Greene Great Performance Award, presented by the Pittsburgh chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America to the team’s top rookie.

“I guess that makes him more special,” Harris said of winning the award in a season where the rookies have made significant contributions. “It’s a different year for the organization. There are a lot of young people in the team. We are a very young team.”

Harris won not only for the numbers he racked up, setting a Steelers single-season rushing record with 1,172 yards, but also for the way he conducts his business.

Dedicated. Worker. Committed. Concentrated. The team first. Generous.

These are all things that describe the team’s No.1 pick in Alabama.

Sure, he entered his rookie season with numbers and stat expectations he wanted to achieve, but he also arrived with an approach to give all he had and put the numbers on the back burner.

“I think every rookie has expectations ahead,” Harris said. “The way the year went and the way I saw everything about how young our team was, I guess some of those goals turned to how we can improve as a team, try to get all the rookies started. My focus has kind of shifted more to how to help the team improve with every game. “

Harris has taken on a leadership role somewhat, not to the extent that some of the team’s veterans have, but he’s taking over and showing that leadership through his actions. He’s one of the players most committed to studying his craft, taking care of his body to the point where instead of slowing down at the end of his rookie season, he gets stronger and stronger.

This dedication to caring for his body came from reading motivational quotes from Japanese philosopher, swordsman and writer Miyamoto Musashi and from reading his book, The Book of the Five Rings.

“Taking care of your body plays an important role, especially in preparing yourself for a heavy workload,” Harris said. “Even though I didn’t have it, I prepared like I was going to have a heavy workload. Taking care of my body is important.

“I’m reading a book called The Book of the Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi. He’s a great warrior. He explains how taking care of his body is really important for a warrior. I think that’s true just in life. . It was one way that helped me a lot. “

It was his approach, his attitude, his demeanor that could one day make him one of the veteran leaders of the team, a team captain who, if it happened, would lead in his own way.

“Everyone, in some ways, should feel like a captain,” Harris said. “If you want to improve everyone and just improve yourself as a team, and as a person, you should always tell someone if they’re doing something wrong. you should give him a pat on the back.

“I’m not really the person to go to the front and cheer everyone on. I’m not that type of captain. I think there are all kinds of different captains. It’s a question that they me. actually asked on entering (during pre-project interviews), if I consider myself a captain. I say yes, I see myself as the captain, but I’m not the captain standing in front and cheering everyone on. world and scream. I’m kind of the captain leading by like the way you play on the pitch. Or I’m a captain, you can come talk to me if you feel like your opinions or anything is wrong. is not heard.