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Steelers pick Najee Harris threw NFL Draft party at homeless shelter

The Steelers got a special one with No. 24-overall pick Najee Harris in the 2021 NFL Draft on Thursday.

Instead of attending the event in Cleveland or celebrating at home in the Bay Area with friends and family, the Alabama product instead attended a watch party in his honor at the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program (GRIP).

Harris, 23, lived in the homeless shelter for several years as a middle-schooler with his parents and four older siblings.

“There was a time I needed a helping hand. They gave us an opportunity to get back on our feet,” Harris told reporters outside the shelter on Thursday. “So it is my job to give back.

“It was really emotional for my mom. Almost as if she was crying, in a way, because we have a lot of memories here. That was a time in my life when it was really low,” he explained.

The Harris family eventually relocated to Antioch, California, where Harris made a name for himself as an elite high school athlete. The star running back eventually garnered national attention, including interest from Alabama head coach Nick Saban. Harris committed to play for the Crimson Tide in 2015.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announces Najee Harris as the 24th selection by the Pittsburgh Steelers
Najee Harris was taken by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 24th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Getty Images

In his senior season at Alabama, Harris recorded 1,466 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns, plus 425 receiving yards.

“Just to see him as a grown man with this kind of opportunity for him today and to know that he lived in this shelter among many other places their family had to move around and lives as a homeless man just speaks to [the thought that] anything is possible,” Kathleen Sullivan, executive director of the GRIP, told ABC 7 News

Harris provided food for current residents at GRIP and posed for photos with kids.


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