Just hours prior to being a first round selection by the Pittsburgh Steelers, Najee Harris stopped by the homeless shelter in Richmond, California where he used to live and hosted a party.
“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,” Harris told reporters, according to CBS News.
In 2010, Harris lived in a small room at the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program shelter along with his mother and four siblings. The organization’s executive director, Kathleen Sullivan, told CBS San Francisco.
“His mother was instrumental in getting him and all those children through what would normally be the most horrific experience of their lives,” she said.
Harris told reporters about the feelings his mother felt visiting the shelter. “It was really emotional for my mom — almost as if she was crying because we have a lot of memories here,” the Alabama Crimson Tide alum said. “That was a time in my life when it was really low. It brought back a lot of memories of what we were going through at the time.”
Additionally, Harris said he’s working on a nonprofit organization in Richmond with hopes of giving back to the shelter in the coming years. “There was a time I needed a helping hand,” he relayed. “They gave us an opportunity to get back on our feet. So it is my job to give back.”
Harris was selected 24th overall by the Steelers and is expected to provide a huge boost to the team’s running game. Najee was instrumental in helping the Crimson Tide win National Championships in 2017 and 2020. He also took home the 2020 Doak Walker Award, which honors the best running back in college football.