For professional running back James Conner, the journey hasn’t always been easy. But through it all, his hometown of Erie, Pa., has always had his back.
“It’s very important for me to give back to the [Erie] community, because without the community, I couldn’t have done it,” he said.
James Conner, a professional football player, got his start as a star football player at McDowell High School, in a suburb of Erie. He went on to play at the University of Pittsburgh and has become a beloved hometown hero – for reasons that run deeper than the game.
In 2015, during his junior year at Pitt, James was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. In a matter of five short months, he underwent treatment and received the call that he was cancer-free.
“After my cancer diagnosis, the love [from Erie fans] was really strong – I felt it,” he said. “It definitely played a part in me lifting my spirits up and getting through it. It was the love from Erie and all over the world.”
After a successful career at the collegiate level, Conner was selected in the third round of the draft to continue his career professionally.