James Conner: Cancer to NFL


One of the most incredible stories in this NFL draft belongs to James Conner. The 6-foot-2, 240-pound University of Pittsburgh running back emerged as a star in 2014 when he rushed for 26 touchdowns as a sophomore was named ACC Player of the Year.

But disaster struck in his junior season. Conner tore his MCL in the Panthers’ season opener against Youngstown State. While he was recovering from the injury, he received even worse news.

A lump was discovered in Conner’s chest and was diagnosed as Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a treatable but deadly form of cancer. The 2015 season had already ended, so Conner could lock in on battling his illness. He spent the next few months in chemotherapy treatments and continued to participate in morning workouts until the following May when his final cancer scan came back clean.

James Conner returned to the field during the 2016-17 season and had a phenomenal comeback year. He played in all 13 of Pitt’s games and ran 208 times for 1,060 yards and 16 touchdowns. He was selected by the Steelers in the third round with the 105th overall pick and figures to serve as a complement to the Steelers’ star, Le’Veon Bell.

What’s your excuse?

Leave a Reply