The Steelers ‘Najee Harris’ offseason includes stint in wrestling ring, plans for Mexico City

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PITTSBURGH – Najee Harris had no plans to get in the ring at the All Elite Wrestling event in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night.

But when the Steelers repeatedly met professional wrestler Britt Baker, a native of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, and a Steelers fan, at the training facility earlier in the week, he began to devise a plan.

“I was upstairs talking to a couple of coaches about some guys in the draft, and then I ran into her,” Harris told ESPN Thursday. “We were talking and I thought, ‘When are you having a fight?’ She said ‘tomorrow’ and I was like, shoot, let me pull up. And then I went. “

Harris, who is back in Pittsburgh for the start of the Steelers’ volunteer training session, got a call from Baker the next day saying she was interested in getting him and tight-end Pat Freiermuth to come out as part of her entrance. Harris walked out behind Baker, waving a giant Terrible Towel flag, while Freiermuth waved a smaller Terrible Towel.

“We just came up with things on the go afterwards,” said Harris, who added that he saw wrestling with his friends when he was growing up. “I thought, ‘Shoot, let me grab this flag right here, then. Let me go out, then I’ll go behind you, as if you were the champion.”

When Baker won her fight, Harris and Freiermuth jumped the ring while the wrestler began rattling off her future opponents. After Baker finished, Harris took the microphone and prepared to cut his own wrestling promo. But the event organizers quickly turned it off and went for a commercial break.

“They were smart enough to cut the microphone off, that’s what happened,” Harris said with a laugh. “I wanted to say some s —. I grabbed it because she walked away and I took it out of her hand. I started saying things. But they did the right thing and turned off the microphone.”

On Thursday morning, Harris replaced the microphone with a whistle and coached a group of seventh and eighth graders at Greenfield Elementary through an obstacle course as part of a Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes Mission Tiger event. The company announced a donation to help 38,000 Pittsburgh Public School students participate in sports, including equipment for Greenfield’s Common Flag football team.

This time a year ago, Harris prepared for the NFL Draft and hosted a draft party in the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program, one of the shelters where he and his family lived in the Bay Area. This year, Harris is taking its draft-day plans internationally.

Harris travels to Mexico, named the Steelers’ International Home Marketing Area last year, for a tour of the capital.

He will also host a draft day party there, where he will announce the Steelers’ fourth-round pick.

It will be Harris’ first trip out of the country.

“We’re going around Mexico City for two, three days,” said Harris, who just got his passport last week. “We just kick it when we see the culture. It’s crazy. It’s going to be fun.”

Prior to his trip, Harris returned to Pittsburgh, where he has been for about a week, following an off-season training stay in Houston. He took three weeks off after his 10-touchdown, 1,200-yard rookie season and resumed training after the Super Bowl. He slowly returned to the groove and worked with a physiotherapist to train specific muscles that do not get attention in the weight room before moving on to the rest of his work.

“Three weeks doesn’t sound like much now that I say it, but it felt like a lot,” Harris said of his break. “It felt like a lot when I was chill. If I have a hard year of work, then I take a lot of breaks. Like just relaxing, relaxing in my body, sleeping a lot more.”

He also spent some of the offseason getting to know new Steelers quarterback Mitch Trubisky.

“Just when we picked him up and he signed, I flew out there that day from Houston,” Harris said. “I was there for at least 8 hours to relax with him and chop it up with him. We exchanged numbers and we’ve talked ever since. We were with each other in Florida and we’re here now with each other.

“… Mitch is really cool. He is open to everything. He tries to understand who he has around him with players. Just how things are. He embraces his role quite well. He has an opportunity to play, so he embraces it. “

Harris said the Steelers’ brain trust kept him informed of their free agency plans, and he even helped them sign cornerback Levi Wallace, another Alabama product.

“They called me when they confirmed they got (Trubisky),” Harris said. “All in all, they kept me informed of who they were getting.”

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