Najee Harris appeared on the Steelers‘ injury report for the first time on Thursday. Pittsburgh’s rookie running back was limited with a foot injury. The Steelers, who are on a short week after defeating the Bears on Monday night, practiced for the first time on Thursday in preparation for Sunday’s home game against the Lions. Pittsburgh will hold one more practice prior to Sunday’s game.
Chase Claypool was inactive during Thursday’s practice after sustaining a toe injury during Monday’s game. Claypool is currently considered week to week, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Given the severity of his injury, it is looking like Claypool will miss his second game of the season. The second-year receiver missed Pittsburgh’s Week 4 loss to Green Bay with a hamstring injury.
James Washington would ascend to the No. 2 receiver spot if Claypool is not able to play on Sunday. Ray-Ray McCloud would fill Washington’s usual role as the No. 3 receiver, while Cody White would round out the Steelers’ receiving corps. The unit has been led the season by Diontae Johnson, who has 45 receptions for 530 yards and three touchdowns through eight games. Pittsburgh’s passing game has received a recent surge by rookie tight end Pat Freiermuth, who has three touchdown catches in the Steelers’ last two games.
Pittsburgh’s rushing attack has been mostly a one-man show. The first running back selected in the 2021 draft, Harris has carried the ball on 77% of the Steelers’ rushing attempts. October’s Offensive Rookie of the Month, Harris is eighth in the NFL with 830 all-purpose yards. His 541 rushing yards are good for ninth in the NFL. Harris is the first rookie since Alvin Kamara to post 100-yard rushing and receiving games.
The Steelers will make a determination on both Harris and Claypool’s game day status during Friday’s injury report. The availability of both players during practice will likely determine what their status is heading into the weekend.