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'Motivated' Harris dropping weight ahead of potential Steelers swan song

Chris Unger / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris is focused on cleaning up his diet and losing weight as he enters the final year of his rookie contract with a chip on his shoulder.

"He's motivated, to say the least," Harris' trainer, Josh Scott, recently told Brian Batko of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Harris - a first-round pick in 2021 - recently had the fifth-year option on his rookie deal declined in a somewhat surprising move. The Alabama product has rushed for at least 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns each season since entering the league, but he's averaged only 3.9 yards per carry.

The 26-year-old finished 2023 with 1,205 scrimmage yards and eight total TDs in 17 games.

"It's all fueling his fire to have an even better season than last year and prove a lot of people wrong," Scott added. "There's a lot of people that hate on him for whatever reason, but he's been as consistent as you can be. He's durable. I think he's going to continue with that. I mean, contract season, that pretty much speaks for itself."

The 6-foot-1 Harris is listed at 242 pounds on the Steelers website, but Scott thinks the tailback has dropped to around 235 pounds.

"One of the main things he's done, personally, was make some big changes to his eating habits," Scott said. "Anytime you're looking to recomposition your body and drop body fat, that's going to be the first place you look."

The trainer continued: "Much more durable, much more nimble dropping that maybe eight or 10 pounds, whatever it was, of body fat but then replacing some of that with some good, lean tissue. And that's really shown in his movement. He's looking really, really springy; really, really light off the ground and more agile."

Harris' weight has been a topic since early in his NFL career, and former Steelers All-Pro running back Le'Veon Bell said last year that losing weight would make a big difference in improving his game.

In what could be Harris' last year in Pittsburgh, it's safe to say the Steelers' offense will look a lot different in 2024. Pittsburgh signed quarterback Russell Wilson, traded for QB Justin Fields, and hired Arthur Smith as offensive coordinator this offseason.

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