PITTSBURGH (93.7 the Fan) – No Steelers have opted out of the season so far, if there were any who would appear at risk, it would be James Conner. The survivor of Hodgkin’s lymphoma might have had concerns.
“”No,” Conner said quickly when asked on Wednesday. “I was excited to get back and be around my teammates and be around football again. I still haven’t thought about it or questioned playing this year.”
“I’m going on four years now removed from cancer. I didn’t have to talk with my family. It was never a concern for me.”
“I’ve been healthy for years now. It was an easy decision for me. Not much thought went into it. I wanted to play football, and I’m healthy. My immune system is back healthy, so I’m not worried.”
NFL reported in the first two weeks of the season less than one percent of players in training camps have tested positive for coronavirus. Conner is more focused on being an example for others, and not just one who dealt with serious health issues, but as a football player.
“It’s definitely a leadership role,” Conner said. “It’s my job to get that running back group going. I set the tone every day when I step out there for practice. I teach these young guys.”
“It’s been awesome. I’ve been learning from them, and they’ve been learning from me. It’s been nice. We are all learning together.”
Northing has come easy for Conner, two different seasons missing games due to an A/C Joint Sprain in his shoulder, a leg quad strain, knee injuries in college and beating cancer.
That has not affected his preparation as a picture of his body-builder-esque back and videos of him throwing chopped wood during the off-season went viral. Conner sees it as a simple answer to injury questions.
“I just worked hard,” Conner said. “That’s all there is to it. You just have a work ethic. Every year you attack it. Even though, you’ve got an offseason to prepare for the season. It’s the game of football. Injuries are going to happen, so I don’t really pay attention to what anyone says.”
“Honestly, as long as the people who make the important decisions believe in me, that’s all that matters. I really don’t care what anyone else thinks. The ones who make all the important decisions, they believe in me. I believe in myself. I’ll leave it at that.”
Conner said Ben Roethlisberger looked motivated and they are going to rally around their Hall of Famer as he is excited about what the season has in store.
“We’re just focused on this year,” Conner said. “We have a great defense. We have a great offense. Let’s do it. Let’s put it together.”