Earlier this week Najee Harris was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 24th overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft. It was celebration time. After all those countless hours of working, practicing, sweating and sacrificing, Najee’s dream of playing in the NFL came true.
There was one important difference between Najee and the other 255 individuals who got drafted this year. Najee Harris had a pre-draft party at the GRIP Homeless Shelter – a place where Najee, his three siblings and his mother once lived. “I wanted to make sure that I could give back to the community and show them if y’all still need anything, I’m never too big or too whatever to help you guys out, I’m always going to be the helping hand,” Najee said to the GRIP staff.
In many ways, Najee had it rough growing up in Richmond, California. At different times, he found himself homeless. He spent many nights in different homeless shelters in his community. Despite the hardships, Najee excelled in school and on the football field. Coming out of high school, he was ranked the #1 football recruit. Three years later he was drafted in the first round of the NFL draft. Not too shabby.
Joe’s Perspective: This is an amazing story. From everything I have read, this kid is humble, kind and respectful. He never lost sight of where he came from or how other’s helped him when he needed help. And he has pledged to never forget. Najee is working on forming a nonprofit organization in Richmond and hopes to continue giving back to the shelter in the years to come. “There was a time I needed a helping hand,” Najee confessed. “They gave us an opportunity to get back on our feet. So it is my job to give back,” This kind of perspective is pretty impressive. Bravo. Najee just gained a life long fan in me.
Your Turn: After reading this blog, what are your thoughts about Najee Harris?