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Report: Steelers expected to use split backfield between Najee Harris, Jaylen Warren against 49ers in Week 1

The Pittsburgh Steelers are expected to have Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren splitting carries in Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers.

Najee Harris #22 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on during the second half of a preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on August 24, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers open up their 2023 campaign by welcoming the San Francisco 49ers to town. The Steelers were a team to follow in the preseason, as their offensive starters looked great. From quarterback Kenny Pickett’s crisp passes to highlight runs from backup running back Jaylen Warren, expectations are high heading into the season. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said in a preview of the Week 1 matchup that the Steelers plan to use a split backfield between Najee Harris and Warren.

When it comes to reports like this, they are predictions at best. If Harris gets out on the field and breaks off a few big runs early, he could be the lead back in the offense. The same could be said about Warren. The takeaway from this report is that the Steelers are open to using more of a split to begin this season instead of automatically going with Harris.

Warren is heading into his second season after being a UDFA out of Oklahoma State in 2022. He played in 16 games as a rookie and had 77 carries for 379 yards and a touchdown. Warren added 214 receiving yards on 28 receptions. Harris played in all 17 games and finished with 1,034 yards on 272 carries. He found the endzone seven times on the ground and added 229 yards and three more scores through the air on 41 receptions.