Ben Roethlisberger and Najee Harris were Steelers teammates in 2021 when the quarterback was playing in his last NFL season while Harris was in his first. But that familiarity didn’t save Harris from Roethlisberger’s criticism Sunday.
While watching Sunday’s Steelers–Packers game on his podcast, Footbahlin, Roethlisberger took exception to Harris’s hurdle attempt in the fourth quarter of the game and went in on his former teammate. Pittsburgh was up 20–19 on second-and-10, and Harris caught a screen pass. Instead of trying to lower his shoulder to fight for the first down near the sideline, he tried to hop over Green Bay safety Rudy Ford and was slammed out of bounds.
Ben Roethlisberger on his podcast on Najee Harris and his hurdle against the Packers: “Here's my thing, if Najee doesn't jump this guy and instead puts his shoulder down and runs the guy over, he gets the first down. He jumps over him and gets carried, so he loses all his… pic.twitter.com/Dqs9NrwbPS— Steelers Depot 7⃣ (@Steelersdepot) November 13, 2023
“All he does is jump,” Roethlisberger said. “If Naj doesn’t jump this guy and puts his shoulder down and runs ahead, he gets the first down. He jumps him and gets [carried out of bounds by Ford]. He loses all his momentum. … Now that’s a big guy, but you’re telling me that his momentum [isn’t enough]?”
Roethlisberger punctuated his critique by adding a stern, “Run him over.”
Harris is 6’1” and weights 242 pounds, while Ford is listed at 210 pounds and just an inch shorter. The Steelers would go on to win the game, 23–19, and Harris finished with 82 rushing yards and a touchdown.