James Conner: Pittsburgh star has cancer, but says he’ll play again

James Conner: Pittsburgh star has cancer, but says he'll play again

James Conner announced his diagnosis of stage 2 Hodgkin lymphoma on Friday, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Sam Werner.

James Conner in his own words from a university release:

“When I heard those words—‘You have cancer’—I admit I was scared. But after thinking about it for a bit, I realized that fear is a choice. I choose to not fear cancer. I choose to fight it and I will win.

“One year ago today I was asking myself, ‘Why me?’ Why was I the lucky one to be getting the ACC Player of the Year award when I had so many teammates who deserved it as much as me? Now one year later, instead of asking, ‘Why me?’ I am saying, ‘Why not me?’ I can beat cancer.

“I know there are so many people in the world who were told by their doctors this week that they also have cancer. I want them to know that together we can—and will—beat cancer.

“I will play football again. I will be at Heinz Field again. I have the best coaches and teammates in the country. I thank God I chose Pitt because now I also have the best doctors in the country and together we will win. I know this city has my back.”

Last season, Conner earned ACC Player of the Year accolades as a sophomore after rushing for 1,765 yards and 26 touchdowns. He’s been sidelined this fall with a knee injury.

Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi on James Conner’s revelation:

“It has been almost a year since I first met James and I’ve learned many things about him during that time. Yes, he is a talented football player, but more importantly he is an exceptional person. Being an athlete is just a small fraction of who he is. James cares deeply about others. He is invested in his community and helping people in need.

“Know this: James Conner will not face this challenge alone. We are all going to be right beside him every step of the way. And the day that he is declared cancer free, we will all celebrate like we do after one of his patented touchdown runs. James has never backed down from an opponent and we all know this is a battle he will win.”

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