Running back Najee Harris is entering Pittsburgh Steelers training camp holding an uncertain future. With the Steelers declining his fifth-year option, there's no guarantee that Harris will be back in Pittsburgh following the 2024 season.

Throughout minicamp, the running back certainly acted like a player disgruntled in his situation. Harris attended minicamp, but he didn't participate. Furthermore, he denied all requests for interviews, a trend that has been gone on since January, via Brooke Pryor of ESPN.

Despite Pittsburgh's decision, general manager Omar Khan doesn't think it's necessarily indicative of a departure. While keeping him in town has now become more difficult, Khan felt the move best fit the Steelers' plans, via 93.7 The Fan, h/t Nick Farabaugh of Steelers Now.

“It was a business decision we had to make,” Khan said. “Just because we didn't pick it up doesn't exclude us from doing something with Najee.”

Head coach Mike Tomlin went on record earlier into minicamp saying that Harris' absence wasn't injury based. Pittsburgh had an opportunity to view the talent looking to make a name for themselves in the backfield. However, for Harris to not participate at all is still jarring, even if it was just minicamp.

Coming into training camp, things will become more serious. It's also when Najee Harris seems more poised to speak on his current selection. But even if he isn't in Pittsburgh's future plans, the running back should still be a key offensive component for the Steelers in 2024.

Whatever happens beyond the campaign is in the future. For now, Pittsburgh is hopeful to get Harris back on the field when they return to practice and back focusing on making a run to the Super Bowl.

Why Najee Harris' Steelers future is murky 

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris (22) runs the ball in the first half against the Buffalo Bills in a 2024 AFC wild card game at Highmark Stadium.
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Harris came into Pittsburgh with wide eyes and high potential, as the Steelers made him the first running back taken in the 2021 NFL Draft. As a rookie, he earned All-Pro honors by running for 1,200 yards and seven touchdowns.

Over his next two seasons, Harris added 2,069 yards and 15 scores. Over his entire tenure in Pittsburgh, the running back has gained 3,269 yards and 22 touchdowns. He has added 866 yards and six scores through the air.

Harris hasn't been bad during his time with the Steelers. In fact his yards per carry increased to 4.1 in 2023. However, Pittsburgh is going through a number of changes to their offense.

Arthur Smith has been implemented as the new offensive coordinator. Russell Wilson and Justin Fields are battling it out for QB1 duties. Diontae Johnson is no longer in the wide receiver room. The Steelers have plenty of offensive puzzle pieces to put together, and they're trying to find the perfect fit.

That could be with Najee Harris still taking hand offs. But perhaps Jaylen Warren or another running back already rostered is better equipped to handle Smith's scheme. Maybe the Steelers prefer the running back options in the 2025 NFL Draft.

Ultimately, the 2024 season will be very telling for the Steelers. After their catastrophic offensive performance in 2023, fans are expecting a massive upgrade. Harris could prove that he deserves to remain and be the team's running back of the present and future. But Pittsburgh wants to make sure the fit still works before committing to anything long-term.