PITTSBURGHwasn’t planning on getting into the ring at the All Elite Wrestling event in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night.
But what if theRunning back, Britt Baker, a professional wrestler and Punxsutawney native, met him at the practice facility earlier this week. He began to devise a plan.
“I was upstairs talking to a couple coaches about some guys in the draft, and then I ran into her,” Harris told ESPN on Thursday. “We were talking, and I was like, ‘When do y’all have a match?’ She said ‘tomorrow,' and I was like, shoot, let me pull up. And then I went.”
Harris, who’s back in Pittsburgh for the start of the Steelers’ voluntary workouts, got a call from Baker the next day saying she was interested in having him and tight endCome out as part of her entry. Harris marched out behind Baker, waving a huge Terrible Towel flag. Freiermuth held a smaller Terrible Towel.
“We were just thinking up stuff on the fly after that,” said Harris, who added he watched wrestling with his friends growing up. “I was like, ‘Shoot, let me grab this flag right here, then. Let me walk out, and I’ll walk behind you like you’re the champion.’”
After Baker won the match, Harris and Freiermuth leapt into the ring. The wrestler began trash-talking Baker about her future opponents. Harris took the microphone and began to make his own promo for wrestling after Baker was done. However, the event organizers immediately turned it off and moved on to a commercial break.
“They were smart enough to cut the mic off, that’s what happened,” Harris said with a laugh. “I was gonna say some s—. She was walking away so I grabbed it and took it from her hand. I started to speak. But they did the right thing and turned off the mic.”
Harris gave up the microphone to coach a group from Greenfield Elementary on Thursday morning. The event was part of the Kellogg's Frosted Flakes Mission Tiger program. The company announced a donation to help 38,000 Pittsburgh Public School middle schoolers participate in sports, including equipment for Greenfield’s co-ed flag football team.
#AdIt is always a pleasure to return home, and especially to surprise the children. Tony the Tiger and I are donating equipment that will change the lives of the athletes today. @PPSnewsFrom @frosted_flakesI can't wait for these kids to get on the field. Let's see how they do!
— Najee Harris (@ohthatsNajee22) April 21, 2022
Harris was one year ago preparing for the NFL Draft and hosted a party at the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program. It was the shelter where Harris lived with his family in the Bay Area. Harris will be taking his draft-day plans to the international level this year.
Harris is traveling to Mexico, designated as the Steelers’ international home marketing area last year, for a tour of the capital city.
He’ll also host a draft day party there, where he'll announce the Steelers’ fourth-round pick.
It’ll 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’re just kicking it, seeing the culture. It’s crazy. It’s going to be fun.”
Harris, who had been in Houston for offseason training, returned to Pittsburgh before his trip. After his rookie season of 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns, Harris took three weeks off. He then resumed training following the Super Bowl. He slowly got back into the groove, working with a physical therapist to exercise specific muscles that don’t get attention in the weight room before transitioning to the rest of his work.
“Three weeks doesn’t sound like that much now that I’m saying it, but it felt like a lot,” Harris said of his break. “It felt like a lot when I was chillin. When I have a very heavy workload, I take breaks. Like just chillin, relaxing my body, sleeping a lot more.”
He also spent the offseason getting familiar with new Steelers quarterbacks..
“Right 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 chill with him and chop it up with him. We exchanged numbers, and we’ve been talking ever since. We were with each other in Florida and we’re here now with each other.
“… Mitch is really cool. He’s open to everything. He’s trying to understand who he has around him with players. How things work. He’s embracing his role pretty good. He has an opportunity to play, so he’s embracing that.”
Harris said the Steelers’ braintrust kept him informed about their free agency plans, and he even helped them sign cornerbackAlabama's fellow product,
“They called me when they confirmed they got (Trubisky),” Harris said. “All throughout it, they kept me in the loop of who they were getting.”