New Steelers draft pick Najee Harris hosts draft party at shelter where he once lived
The newly signed Pittsburgh Steeler went back to the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program (GRIP) homeless shelter to give the residents an unforgettable day
Newly signed Pittsburgh Steeler Najee Harris has taken giving back to the next level.
The rookie, picked 24th in the first round of the NFL draft, decided to return to the homeless shelter he once lived and host a draft party for its residents on Thursday, per TMZ.
The 23-year-old running back who spent his college years as part of Alabama’s Crimson Tide, once lived at the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program (GRIP) homeless shelter located in Richmond, Calfornia. The party included a food donation, football decor, and music.
Harris lived at the shelter when he was in grammar school along with his four siblings and his parents. They eventually relocated to Antioch, California.
“There was a time I needed a helping hand. They gave us an opportunity to get back on our feet. So it is my job to give back,” Harris said to reporters.
“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 said to reporter Kylen Mills outside of GRIP.
“Doing this really makes me and my family feel better, just giving appreciation and everything,” Harris, a two-time national champion with Alabama who set rushing records with the school, added.
“It’s a subject, especially in the Bay Area, that needs to get shed light on. The more that we are together, the more we can make everything happen, especially in good ways. You know for me moving up, I’m getting more attention, more cameras and stuff, that’s good, because it’s shedding more light on the situation.”
This isn’t the first time Harris has used his platform for good.
Back in April t AL.com reported that he helped unify his team in the midst of the racial injustice going on in the country.
“What does that answer?” Harris remembers asking one of his Alabama teammates when athletes were leaving practice in protest against racial injustice.
“You’re walking out but what are you going to do? Just walk out and go home and play Xbox? Walk out and tweet about it? I mean, come on, bro. We understand what you’re trying to do but let’s do something to try and change it.”
He goes on to explain that he helped organize a march on campus, but first he wanted to his coach’s permission.
“It was like a movie,” said Harris. “I went up there and I looked behind me and it was the whole damn team all walking up the stairs and we all came into Saban’s office.”
“’I was waiting for you guys to do something like this,’” Harris recalled Alabama head coach Nick Saban saying, telling the team, ‘because if I say it as a coach, it wouldn’t be as genuine. I wanted the players to come do it.’ So, Saban was all in.”
Harris recalls his coach being so proud of his team’s decision to take a stand.
“I’m like a proud father because I want to do everything I can to help but I wanted you guys to come and speak to me yourselves,” said Harris, recalling Saban’s words.
“I went outside and there was hella people out there. Like all the athletes,” Harris told the outlet in March. “I’m like, ‘this is dope.’ I was walking through that thing, I felt like Martin Luther King.”
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