Mike Tomlin’s focus and job is to make the 2022 Pittsburgh Steelers the very best model of themselves they are often. But his facet quest is to have Cam Heyward flip Najee Harris into, nicely, the following Cam Heyward. Tomlin mentioned what he calls his “side project” of the season, having Heyward mentor Harris and switch him right into a staff chief. Tomlin defined why in a incredible interview aired Tuesday by The Pivot Podcast, hosted by Fred Taylor, Channing Crowder, and Ryan Clark.
“I’m bridging a transitional leadership relationship between Cam Heyward and Najee,” Tomlin informed the present. “Najee is a leader. He was a born leader. He’s got good football morals. He sees the game the way that we see the game. He wants to be a part of what’s right. So that needs to be cultivated. That needs to be trained. Really, going back into the last year, I’ve challenged Cam Heyward to help him grow in that way.”
In perspective and spirit, Harris and a younger Heyward have been related folks. Different personalities, Harris is much more extroverted and open, joking round and generally trolling the media, however grounded, humble, and is aware of there’s loads to study. Heyward had the advantage of having leaders in his positional group. Aaron Smith, Brett Keisel, Casey Hampton, three excellent dudes to study from, to not point out a legendary coach in John Mitchell.
After sitting on the bench for 2 years, the room grew to become Heyward’s to personal and he’s run with it, turning into an All-Pro participant and All-Pro particular person. Especially now with out Ben Roethlisberger, Heyward is a frontrunner and face of the franchise. And will assist Harris develop that facet of himself to positively impression the offensive facet of the soccer.
“We give of our time and our space to that young man,” Tomlin mentioned of how the “program” will work. “We’re not gonna ask him to lead without teaching him how to do it. What it looks like, what it entails. And not only in our words, but in our actions.”
Heyward is the right man to comply with in phrases and actions. Few take the sport as severely as he does. Few work as onerous as he does. Few hustle to the ball the way in which he does. Harris has already proven these parts, displaying up in nice form to camp final 12 months, taking up the position of workhorse again, and doing the little issues which are simple to miss, like chasing down this interception final 12 months.
Good effort play by Najee Harris after Roethlisberger’s first INT. Comes throughout the sector to make the deal with, save a TD, and Steelers’ D holds Bengals to a FG.
— Alex Kozora (@Alex_Kozora) November 30, 2021
With doubtless the youngest offense in soccer, Pittsburgh wants new management, and it’s a idiot’s errand to try to flip somebody into one. Harris has that pure trait and although he hasn’t needed to be an on-field chief a lot earlier than, will assume that position in Pittsburgh starting this 12 months.
Tomlin retold a narrative that grew to become fashionable final 12 months with Heyward sending a Christmas tree to Harris’ home after the staff discovered Harris wasn’t basking within the Christmas spirit.
Najee Harris mentioned Friday that folks name him ‘The Grinch’. Teammate Cameron Heyward even despatched him a Christmas tree to get into the vacation spirit. 🎄 #Steelers
— Steelers Depot 7⃣ (@Steelersdepot) December 24, 2021
“We just want him to know that we need certain things from him in the football way and so we gonna help him with the other aspects of his life because I can’t run the ball and neither can Cam Heyward. You know what I mean? Yeah. So we’ve got that other stuff. We can help you with that other stuff.”
Pittsburgh will rely closely on Najee Harris this season, one thing Tomlin admitted within the interview. The Steelers might want to run the ball higher than they’ve the final three seasons. Harris is coming into his second 12 months and confirmed he generally is a starting-caliber again. The offensive line has to point out they’re a formidable entrance 5. If these items can’t come into place, the offense might be in for an extended 12 months and Pittsburgh’s possibilities of making it into the postseason hover round zero. Quality time between Harris and Heyward is efficacious however come mid-January, the Steelers hope to have their sights set on a Super Bowl.