UPDATED Najee cleared to play Sunday

93.7 The Fan
93.7 The Fan

When Najee Harris hurt his elbow early on in Baltimore there was obvious concern. Even after he returned in the fourth quarter and was instrumental in the Steelers’ come-from-behind overtime victory, there was still plenty of concern since there was no guarantee Harris would be able play in the Wild Card game.

The adrenaline (and whatever else it was) that helped him get through the Ravens game would wear off, the elbow could swell up and a more serious injury might materialize. So that concerned lingered when Najee didn’t practice Wednesday or Thursday

“I’d be naïve to say it wasn’t (a concern); he’s a special player for us,” Offensive Coordinator Matt Canada said Thursday. “Obviously, I want him to be at full strength. Until we get to Sunday we don’t how things are going to play out at every position.”

Mike Tomlin had said Friday would be telling and what Friday said was that he was a full participant. Saturday afternoon the Steelers removed him from any injury question.

“The elbow’s doing good,” he said after Friday’s workout at Heinz Field. “I got a little PRP shot in it so it was sore for a couple days but it’s feeling better.”

While Harris hasn’t had to make a habit of it, he has had to play through some degree of pain in the past. “This is the first time in the league but it’s not the first time even for me getting hurt so it’s not anything new,” he said. “In this sport, there’s so much contact so you can’t say ‘I want to play different.’”

“You can’t do that especially at the running back position, it’s already a physical position,” he continued. “You just got to have in your mind that obviously you’re somewhat hurt (so) also protect yourself but still play the game the way you play it.”

Once he returned in Baltimore, that’s exactly what Harris did, even if he did take a bit of a chance. “I tried to put this brace on me but I can’t play with a brace,” he explained, “cause I can’t really fold my arm for ball security so I (had them) put some tape on it and I got back in there.”

Ad proceeded do what Canada needed to win the game and get into the playoffs. “He made a one-handed catch and really, really couple of big run,” the OC marveled. “So I think he was really effective when he came back and (that) certainly says a lot about him as a person and how much of a team player he is and how much he wants to win. He loves to compete and loves to win.”

If the Steelers are to win in Kansas City, Najee Harris will have to be a big part of it.

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