Prior to being selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, running back Najee Harris played for the Alabama Crimson Tide and was coached by Nick Saban from 2017 through the 2020 college football season, making Harris a household name.
Saban was just voted first among college football coaches by ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg for the upcoming season, but the illustrious figure hasn’t always had the friendliest disposition:
During the most recent episode of “The Pivot Podcast,” which was hosted by Ryan Clark, Channing Crowder, and Fred Taylor, Harris appeared to confirm that assertion about his old coach, according to TMZ Sports and Adam Spencer of Saturday Down South.
Harris said during the show, “Me and Saban dude, we did not get along at first. He just didn’t get the kind of person I was at first, so we got into a few arguments. I have no idea how many Californian men he had. I guess you could say I’m not the type of person to just sit back and let someone talk to me and for me not to say something. I’m willing to get guidance, but there is a line that must not be crossed; for example, “All right, dude, I’m a man, you ain’t going to talk to me like that.” Tutor me. Don’t think you are anything more to me than a coach. Do not attempt to minimize. I thought I was being dismissed.
Harris went on to say
We frequently “bumped heads.” After the most recent event, I quit school. People were unaware that I had taken a break from school for around two weeks. After I had been absent from school for almost two weeks, Saban called me into his office. After our conversation, he took time out of his busy schedule to get to know me. Since that time, we have been steadfast. Other people will exaggerate about their romantic connections by saying things like, “Oh sure, Coach Saban and I clicked right on.
Harris’ time at Alabama wasn’t all bad, either; Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said in June that the 24-year-old ball carrier is already “a natural leader” despite having played only one season of professional football. Harris stated he is willing to receive 500 touches during the upcoming season if doing so will help the Steelers win games. This declaration comes months after future Hall of Fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger announced his retirement from the game.
One wonders if Harris acquired at least part of that tenacity under Saban’s direction.
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