Najee Harris didn’t sleep on the floor at Alabama. Why did ESPN report that he did?

Najee Harris on the sideline during a Steelers game.
Steelers running back Najee Harris (22)
(Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press)

Najee Harris hasn’t always had a bed of his own. But once he got one, Harris slept in it.

Seems like an odd thing to need to clarify, but that’s just what the Pittsburgh Steelers running back had to do after his team’s 29-27 win over the Chicago Bears on “Monday Night Football.”

At one point during the game, the ESPN broadcasters talked about Harris’ difficult childhood, during which he, his mother and his four siblings spent time in homeless shelters and also lived out of a van. The broadcasters also referenced an ESPN story from earlier in the day that told of how Harris has helped finance numerous improvements at one of those shelters.


Broadcaster Steve Levy went on to add this detail about Harris:

“Even when he got to Alabama on the full ride, got the fancy dorm room, he spent the first few months in Alabama sleeping on the floor. Said he was just more comfortable, he was more used to that.”

Almost immediately after the game, Harris posted on Twitter to deny that portion of his story.

“Bra I ain’t sleep on no dam floor in college,” tweeted Harris, who rushed for 62 yards and a touchdown in 22 carries. “I slept on my bed.”

That’s a weird anecdote to just make up. But it seems likely Levy might have confused Harris with another former Alabama running back.

Here’s the first paragraph of a 2018 Bleacher Report story about current Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs:


NFL roundtable: The Rams face tough second-half schedule and might not catch the Cardinals. Chargers are atop AFC West, but have run-game difficulties.

Nov. 9, 2021

“When he arrived at Alabama, Josh Jacobs spent his first few months sleeping on the floor in his dorm room. Not because he didn’t have a bed. But because after years of sleeping on couches, on motel floors and in the back seat of his father’s maroon Chevy Suburban, he was more comfortable there.”

So, yeah, probably an honest mistake by Levy. Harris’ story is inspirational enough without any embellishment.