Najee Harris, who once lived in a Richmond homeless shelter with his family before thriving as a running back at Antioch High, celebrated his NFL draft selection to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night from Rob Ben’s Restaurant & Lounge in Emeryville, which is owned by former NFL great Marshawn Lynch, who owns a home in Richmond (the home is reportedly for sale).
Lynch has reportedly become a mentor to Harris, 23, the All-American running back from Alabama who was drafted by the Steelers as the 24th overall pick.
“It almost seemed fake, like it’s too good to be true,” Harris told the Chronicle. “It’s a perfect spot for me.”
Earlier Thursday, Harris paid a visit to the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program (GRIP), where he helped set up an NFL draft watch party for children, according to NBC Bay Area.
Prior to moving to Antioch, Harris and his family were homeless and lived at the GRIP shelter for a brief period. Earlier this month, he visited the room where he stayed at GRIP 11 years ago. He joined hands with GRIP workers and residents in a prayer circle and expressed an intent to support the shelter in the future.
“I think we stayed here for a month or maybe longer than that,” Harris told NBC Bay Area. “I know the time that we had really helped my family out to find another place to stay.”
Harris completed his career with the Alabama Crimson not just as a national champion, but also as the all-time leader in rushing yards with 3,843, total scrimmage yards with 4,624 and touchdowns with 57.