The past year has been filled with ups and downs for Steelers' running back Josh Harris. He went from being an undrafted rookie without a team until the Steelers signed him during training camp, to being signed to the practice squad, and then placed on the active roster in November and stepping into the role of number two back behind Le'Veon Bell.
Harris, who started at Wake Forest and was disappointed he wasn't drafted, was happy with the way things turned out in the end.
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"It felt really good because you know how hard you worked," said Harris. "To see, okay things didn't go as you planned, because I didn't get drafted or signed. When those things aren't there you sit there and think, now what. For them to call and me to come in for camp, and the preseason was great. Then to make the practice squad and then the active roster. It was good to see my hard work pay off.
"I remember there were times I was sitting at home and I knew I put all of this work in and wasn't seeing it. For me to finally be here and be in this position, it shows me that the hard work really pays off."
Harris knew he had a lot to prove coming in as a free agent, but he also felt those drafted had even more responsibility proving their worth.
"It's not really as bad as it seems," said Harris of coming in as an undrafted free agent. "I feel like the guys that get picked up in the first and second rounds have a lot of responsibility. For me, I just had to prove I belong here. That is what I did and I am happy about that."
The Steelers activated Harris from the practice squad in November after LeGarrette Blount was released. Harris had only nine carries in the regular season for 16 yards, but showed what he is capable of when on his first NFL carry he broke free for 59 yards, only to have it negated by a holding call.
Harris knows he has a lot of work ahead of him this offseason, especially with the addition of DeAngelo Williams in the backfield, but the good news for him is he will has a full offseason to get ready for 2015, including OTAs and minicamp.
"I just have to make sure I stay in shape, I want to make sure I am healthy, that my legs can hold up," said Harris. "I want to work on things like pass rush. That's one thing I saw from Le'Veon. He is a great guy. He can be in the backfield and go out for routes, he can be in the slot and have routes. That is one thing I am going to make sure I put some time in on.
"This offseason is huge. At the end of the day it's going to make me that much better of a player and that is what I strive for. I strive to be the best. Being able to see the offense more, hear my coach more and be around the guys who have been here for some time. All that will do is make me that much better of a player."