Steelers RB James Conner aims to promote ‘unity and togetherness’
James Conner’s thoughts – he just wants to promote unity pic.twitter.com/FsOZrVT42C
— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) June 2, 2020
Conner spoke to Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, saying he wants everyone to build coalitions for change. This change, Conner said, begins with hope (transcription via Curt Popejoy of USA TODAY):
“We need change. I think, cliche as it sounds, that starts with hope,” Conner says. “To teach their kids about unity and togetherness and how we’re stronger together.”
Conner would most certainly know a thing or two about hope.
The 25-year-old was diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkin lymphoma during his junior season at Pittsburgh University in 2015. But Conner fought the disease, and he declared cancer-free in May of 2016. He would go on to play a full season with the Panthers, rushing for nearly 1,100 yards and 16 touchdowns to go along with 302 receiving yards.
Conner was subsequently taken by the Steelers in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft. After a year as Le’Veon Bell’s backup, Conner as thrust into the feature back role when Bell orchestrated a season-long holdout. In 13 games, Conner rushed for 973 yards and 12 touchdowns, also hauling in 55 receptions for 497 yards.
The 2019 campaign with the Steelers was not as successful for Conner, who played just 10 games due to injury and also averaged 4.0 yards per carry after averaging 4.5 yards per carry in 2018.
But Conner knows how to bounce back, and having a healthy Ben Roethlisberger leading the air attack might open up space for Conner to churn out yards on the ground.
For now, however, Conner wants his message of hope to be heard and felt by people across America as citizens fight against inequality.