After finishing his Wake Forest career with more than 2,100 rushing yards and 19 rushing touchdowns, both of which are top-10 in school history, Josh Harris expected to be drafted in the 2014 NFL Draft. Unfortunately for Josh, he did not hear his name announced, and went undrafted. He had a very short stint with the Dallas Cowboys at a mini-camp, but nothing ever materialized there. Now, not even eight months after the 2014 NFL Draft, the undrafted running back will be starting for the Pittsburgh Steelers in their AFC Wild Card playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens. It's a great story of hard work and timing.
Life is all about making the most of the opportunities that you have, and Josh Harris has certainly done that in his short time with the NFL. Harris was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Pittsburgh Steelers early on during training camp. He was on their practice squad, hoping he'd one day get an opportunity to be promoted to a 53-man roster. Any 53-man roster. Harris got that opportunity in mid-November. Following the Steelers' Monday Night Football victory over the Tennessee Titans, former Steelers running back LeGarrette Blount inexplicably left the field and locker room early. He was cut less than 24 hours later, and Harris was promoted to the 53-man roster.
Harris still had a tall task ahead of him, however, as Pittsburgh's starting running back was Le'Veon Bell, who was one of the best running backs in the league this season, was ahead of him on the depth chart and received the vast majority of the carries. But during Pittsburgh's final regular season game, Bell suffered a hyper-extended knee after a tackle right around his knees. Head coach Mike Tomlin didn't take too kindly to the hit put on by Reggie Nelson, but that can't change Bell's injury status. Once again, Josh Harris was in the right place at the right time. Harris nearly had almost an immediate impact in Sunday night's victory over the Bengals. He busted out a 59-yard run, but it was called back due to a penalty.
Harris will now have a lot more opportunities to make game-changing plays on Saturday night. He may not have an opportunity to be the featured back of the Steelers given Bell's talent, but Saturday night is an outstanding chance for Harris to prove to the rest of the NFL that he can play and is deserving of a spot in the league. I'm a Ravens fan, but I'll certainly be rooting for Josh to play well on Saturday night. I'm proud of how hard he has worked, and proud thrilled to see that someone who works so hard is getting such a great opportunity.
<iframe width="640" height="390" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/_zhaIqNVwEk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>