Former Warm Steelers Running Back Body Helps Power Packers To Playoff Win Over Vikings

The Green Bay Packers beat the Minnesota Vikings 24-10 Saturday night at Lambeau Field in the first of the two NFC Wild Card games and you may have noticed a familiar name contributing on offense for them in the form of running back DuJuan Harris.

Harris, who had 100 all-purpose yards and a touchdown in the win, was with the Pittsburgh Steelers for a few short days prior to the final roster cut down date and many fans are now wondering why the 5-foot-8, 203 pound bowling ball didn\’t stick in Pittsburgh.

The answer is really quite simple. The Steelers didn\’t have room for Harris and he was merely a warm body for them for preseason finale against the Carolina Panthers.

Harris was signed by the Steelers off of waivers following his release from the Jacksonville Jaguars on Aug. 25, because they needed an extra running back body due to injuries to running backs Isaac Redman and Jason Ford. Keep in mind that Rashard Mendenhall was also still fresh off of the PUP list and still recovering from offseason knee surgery as well.

Harris was also the choice because the Steelers needed a player that could practice and play without having to go through the three-day acclimation period rule in the CBA which states that free agent players must have a three-day acclimation period before they can don pads during the preseason after signing. Harris was signed off waivers so that rule did not apply to him. As I stated, he was a warm, legal body.

The Steelers played their preseason finale on Aug. 30, so you can see that Harris only had a few days of practice and limited reps on a roster that was all but set for the season, especially at the running back position.

Harris did have a good showing late in the game against the Panthers as he rushed for 45 yards on 12 carries and had one reception for 4 yards. While the effort was there, he was not a player that was going to crack the Steelers special teams unit, a must for a bottom of the roster running back, and thus was released by the team on Aug. 31 during the first round of cuts.

After the Steelers waived Harris he was out of work until the Packers signed him to their practice squad on Oct. 24. He was even working as a car salesman in Jacksonville when the Packers called him. Harris stayed on the Packers practice squad until he was promoted to their 53 man roster on Dec. 1. and the rest, as they say, is history.

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  • One word: fungible. (Also, no mention of Kuhn? – just saying, in an article about former Steelers RB cuts on the Green Bay Packers – you just don’t get many other chances to talk about Kuhn…)

  • JohnnyV1

    Good for Harris! Hope he makes the best of his opportunity. I liked Jason Ford, but both he and Harris came into a pretty stacked deck. Mendenhall wasn’t going anywhere, and neither was Redman. Dwyer & Batch were both Steeler draft picks and both had shown flashes. Then Rainey was a 5th round pick in 2012. Ford & Harris had little chance, particularly since both came to camp late, no off-season work, they didn’t know the offense. And with 5 RB’s + 1FB pm the roster, no room on the practice squad for a RB, needed those spots for other positions.

  • Tim Culligan

    completely forgot about Harris. I remember seeing this short guy with wild hair in the 2nd half of the carolina game when i watched it but I never seriously considered him to actually make the team since he hadn’t played any other preseason game. Good for him, glad to see he’s doing well.

  • opie1280

    Kuhn? Come on…glaring omission from the article.

  • SteelersDepot

    If you do not know the Kuhn story by now, shame on you. Piece about DH, not Kuhn. HTH

  • steeltown

    Is anyone else concerned with the durability of Baron Batch? He really doesnt see the the field much, yet has been injured two yrs in a row. I’m sure he’ll be back in 2013, he’s an exclusive rights FA, so he’ll be cheap. I like Batch, but I’m not sure he’s the long term answer or the second coming of mewelde moore