Last month Conner gifted his father a new truck ahead of Father’s Day. This weekend he tweeted out his mother’s reaction to receiving a new house, saying “Welcome HOME Ma…! You’re the reason I go to work day in and day out, to finally give you a place you can call Home.”
It’s the latest big news in what has already been a big year for the fourth-year running back.
Conner’s Memoir Released in June
Last month, Conner released his memoir Fear is a Choice: Tackling Life’s Challenges with Dignity, Faith, and Determination, in which he recounts his fight against Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which slowed—but didn’t stop—his roll towards a career in the NFL.
In the book, Conner admits that at first he didn’t appreciate the impact he could have on people’s lives as a high-profile cancer survivor—he just wanted to be known for his ability to play football.
But after meeting kids facing all manner of challenges—including cancer, life-threatening heart conditions, and paralysis—he came to recognize that he had an opportunity to impact countless lives through the platform that his pro football career provides.
Or as he puts it in Fear is a Choice: “I want to play … for those people who may not ever be able to return to the field, the mat, or the pool because of their struggles…. These individuals are no less important than I am, but because I’m an NFL player, I get all the press and attention. With the platform I’ve been given, it’s my duty to speak up for those who are still battling and those who have lost the battle….”
James Conner a Pending Unrestricted Free Agent
Meanwhile, Conner faces yet another challenge this coming football season: proving to the Steelers that he is worth a lucrative second NFL contract that keeps him in Pittsburgh for the rest of his NFL career.
In 2018, Conner produced at a Pro Bowl level, rushing for 973 yards and 12 touchdowns while also catching 55 passes for 497 yards over the course of 13 games played. But in 2019 he battled injuries, accounting for just 751 total yards and seven touchdowns over the course of ten games.
Conner is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next year, as the rookie contract he signed in 2017 expires after this season.
In the years since he was drafted, Pittsburgh has added other running backs to its roster, including Anthony McFarland Jr., who was selected in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Even so, Conner remains one of the team’s top 5 pending unrestricted free agents entering the 2021 season and he ranks high on a new list of the most elusive running backs in the NFL.
Conner recently celebrated four years cancer-free.
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