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James Conner: 'No one more grateful for the city of Pittsburgh than me'

(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

It was announced this morning that former Steelers running back James Conner agreed to terms on a one-year contract with Arizona.

Conner is looking forward to a fresh start with the Cardinals after being plagued by injuries during his four-year tenure with the Steelers, along with living in another part of the country. In addition to being with the Steelers the last four years, Conner is an Erie native and played at Pitt, so this will be the first time that he's played for a team outside of Pennsylvania

“I feel brand new,” Conner said Tuesday to the Arizona media via Jeff Hathhorn of 93.7 The Fan. “I’m excited for this opportunity. It’s definitely a change in scenery. I had been in Pittsburgh for 8 years. I was learning so many lessons. That time in Pittsburgh was prepping for where I’m at right now. I’m excited to be in this red. I’m truly excited. It’s a blessing.”

Conner will start a new chapter of his life out in Arizona, but he'll never forget the combined eight years that he spent in Pittsburgh playing for the Pitt Panthers and Steelers.

"No one more grateful for the city of Pittsburgh than me," Conner tweeted on Tuesday afternoon. "The last 8 years been building and molding me into the man I am today. Excited for what’s ahead but truly thankful for all the love and support during my best moments and most difficult times."

Conner also tweeted, "S/o to everyone who represented that #30 jersey with pride and as a symbol of strength. It’s all love forever."

Conner was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in November of 2015 and during the same period of going through 12 rounds of chemotherapy, he was also recovering from an MCL injury that he suffered in Week 1 of the 2015 season at Pitt. Conner announced that he was cancer-free in May of 2016 and went on to play the entire 2016 season at Pitt. Conner got drafted by the Steelers in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft and throughout his tenure at both Pitt and with the Steelers, he was an inspiration to many who were fighting cancer or were facing any type of adversity in their lives. In June of 2020, Conner released his autobiography "Fear Is a Choice: Tackling Life's Challenges with Dignity, Faith, and Determination."

In four seasons with the Steelers, Conner rushed for 2,302 yards on 532 carries (4.3 average) and 22 touchdowns. In the air, Conner had 124 receptions for 963 yards (7.8 average) and four touchdowns.

Conner had a Pro Bowl year in 2018 with 973 yards rushing and 497 yards receiving, along with a total of 13 touchdowns. However, injuries and a lack of production would hamper Conner's next two seasons.

In 2020, Conner rushed for 721 on 169 carries (4.3 average) and six touchdowns in 13 games. He also had 35 receptions for 215 yards (6.1 average).

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