LATROBE, PA -- Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris has been sidelined at training camp for a week due to a foot injury, but he's been impressed with what the backups are showing.
Harris left practice after being stepped on during team drills. He was checked by trainers, and the team is being cautious with his return. In the meantime, Benny Snell, Anthony McFarland and Jaylen Warren have all seen first-team reps.
Harris spoke about all three and what he's seen since his exit, saying Snell, McFarland and Warren have shown positive signs working as the starters. But in particular, McFarland and Warren have caught his attention.
"Benny and Anthony, especially Anthony, took a big step," Harris said. "Especially Anthony in ways, he's really controlling what role he has, making explosive runs. Benny, him being a veteran, that's the stuff you expect from Benny. He's a reliable guy too. Ant and Benny have both been looking good all camp."
McFarland stole the show during the second week of practice, winning almost all his matchups in one-on-ones, and making several splash plays with the offense.
Matt Canada has designed McFarland-specific plays for the third-year runner, and the team looks to add another playmaker to the mix.
For Warren, he quickly became the camp star as an undrafted rookie. The cousin to Steelers' great Willie Parker, Warren seems to be "the guy" fans are rooting for to make the team.
"Jaylen's been improving every day, especially since he's gotten here," Harris said. "Him being undrafted, coming in here and showing what he can do, especially in good-on-good, especially with the ones, especially in pads too, because you question whether it can translate into pads, and it has."
Harris is working hard to remain in game shape while he's off the field. After practice, he swims about 30 laps per day, has treatment, runs on a treadmill in the water, and finishes with zero gravity work.
Head coach Mike Tomlin said Harris could make a return this week but it'll likely be a slow build for the star runner as the team continues to prepare for the season.
"It's been pretty frustrating," Harris said. "But there are a lot of other guys who get to see their skillsets. It's a blessing in disguise. Not to get hurt, but just to see younger guys and other guys see those reps."
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