Growing up in California, future NFL first-round draft pick Najee Harris spent several years with his parents and four siblings in a Bay Area homeless shelter.
Harris returned to the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program on Thursday as one of its greatest success stories, coming home to a draft party held in his honor.
"There was a time I needed a helping hand. They gave us an opportunity to get back on our feet," Harris told reporters. "So it is my job to give back."
The former Alabama running back did just that, bringing with him a donation of food for the shelter's residents, just hours before he was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 24th overall pick in the draft.
Whatever team drafts Alabama’s Najee Harris is getting a special person. Today he threw a draft party for kids at the homeless shelter where he lived for several years growing up. He told me it was emotional the first time he went back to visit. @kron4news#NFLDraft#RollTidepic.twitter.com/JadBIFh4pd
Harris told local TV station KRON4 it was an emotional experience not only for him, but also for his mother.
"It was almost as if she was crying in a way. We have a lot of memories here," he said.
Najee Harris rushed for 79 yards and scored three touchdowns in Alabama's 52-24 victory over Ohio State in the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship Game. (Photo: Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports)
Harris, one of a record-tying six Alabama players taken in the first round, rushed for 1,446 yards and 26 touchdowns in his senior season in Tuscaloosa, finishing fifth in the voting for the Heisman Trophy and helping lead the Crimson Tide to a national championship.
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