Ben Roethlisberger alluded to Jerome Bettis when speaking about Najee Harris following Pittsburgh's Week 4 loss to the Packers. Specifically, Roethlisberger talked about how Bettis' physicality was oftentimes a game-changer for the Steelers during Big Ben's first two years in Pittsburgh.
Less than a week after Roethlisberger's comments, Pittsburgh's rookie running back said that he reached out to Bettis about watching film together sometime soon. That time appeared to be Thursday, as Harris and Bettis took a photo together ahead of Pittsburgh's Sunday night game against the Seahawks.
"I watched him whenever he played when I was young," Harris recently said of Bettis, a 2015 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee. "I like Jerome, I've talked to Jerome a lot of times. He's a good dude. Just as a person, I like him.
"I actually reached out to him. Whenever he comes back down here, we're going to watch film together just so he can give me some keys of what to do better. That's really what I'm most excited about right there."
Earlier this month, Bettis said that Harris "can be much better than me" during an interview with 93.7 The Fan.
"He's the new type of feature back, where, in my day, the feature back was a guy who could carry it 25 times," Bettis recently told Ed Bouchette of The Athletic. "But now a feature back is a guy who can touch it 30, 35 times, and that's 20 carries, 10 receptions or 24 carries, six receptions. He's touching the football about 25 to 30 times a game, which is totally different than my era. I just see him as being a totally complete running back, and it's impressive to see just his development in five games."
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Harris may be on his way to being mentioned alongside Bettis as great running backs who played in Pittsburgh. He has already been linked with Saints All-Pro running back Alvin Kamara, as Harris recently became the first running back since Kamara to have 100-yard rushing and receiving games in the same season.
After running for 122 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries in Pittsburgh's 27-19 win over the Broncos last Sunday, Harris became the first rookie running back to tally 100-yard rushing and receiving games since Kamara accomplished that feat in 2017. Harris caught 14 passes (a franchise rookie running back record) for 102 yards in Pittsburgh's Week 3 loss to the Bengals.
Harris leads all rookie running backs with 307 rushing yards through four games. He is second on the Steelers in receptions (28) and third in yards (198). Last Sunday, Harris helped the Steelers snap their 16-game skid of not rushing for 100 yards as a team. Along with his play on the field, Harris has further endeared himself to Steelers fans with his recent comments about Bettis, who famously hung up his cleats after helping Pittsburgh capture its fifth Lombardi Trophy.
"It means a lot because obviously he's a Hall of Famer, and not only that, just a great person," Harris said Thursday on NFL Network. "He's coming in today, actually. We're going to break down film. For him to say all of that, it's such an honor."