Najee Harris Appreciates Mike Tomlin’s Coaching Style: ‘He Lets Me Grow’

Recently, NBC Sports’ Michael Smith sat down with Najee Harris, Mike Tomlin and other Steelers to delve more into Najee’s backstory in terms of his humble upbringing, time in Alabama and experiences up to that point. now in the NFL in his second season with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Steelers Depot’s Alex Kozora recently highlighted Tomlin’s thoughts on his relationship with his running back, and Harris gave his take on the relationship he and his head coach share.

“We have a good relationship, man,” Harris said of Tomlin to Michael Smith in an NFL video on NBC’s YouTube channel. “That’s for sure. One of the best coaches I’ve worked with. I can grow on my own. He lets me grow rather than imposing a lot of things on me. Which, is it a lot, to be a team captain? second-year team, especially for a running back? He helps me handle that well.”

Najee Harris and Mike Tomlin are two great personalities, with Harris having a flamboyant personality and Tomlin being known for being a player coach who has a dictionary of his own tomlinisms that most Steelers fans have grown accustomed to over the years. They both live, eat and breathe football and repeatedly mention that they hate to settle for mediocrity and that the norm is the norm, whether it’s individual performance like Harris as a carry first-round ball or overall team success, with Tomlin never having a losing record on his resume as head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Still, Tomlin understands the pressure Harris puts on himself to be exceptional in all aspects of his life and allows him to grow as a football player as well as a man without breaking him down with criticism. Harris has always been his worst critic and even sought advice from his former HC in Nick Saban, Alabama, who is widely known for his stern personality.

Harris knows he hasn’t played up to the expectations he has of himself with the rest of Steeler Nation, taking on the struggles of the running game rather than blaming someone else. This is the sign of a true leader. Someone who does not deflect blame and is slow to accept praise. These characteristics of Harris bring joy to Tomlin as a coach who would rather say “woah” than “sic’em.” That’s why Tomlin and the rest of the Steelers organization gave Harris the team captaincy in his second season in the NFL, knowing he would take the honor seriously and try to show himself to the live up to that designation as best he could.

It’s more than just a coach/player relationship between Najee Harris and Mike Tomlin. The two share a strong bond that feels more like a family dynamic than just a business. This dynamic not only helps Harris feel comfortable in his development as a player, but also his development as a young man under Tomlin’s watchful eye.