PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It’s known that Steelers running back James Conner had an uplifting story in his fight against cancer back in college, but new details about the initial diagnosis reveal just how serious the situation was at the time.
Conner joined Michael Seander (hip-hop artist Mike Stud) on his podcast recently and provided some new information about the day in 2015 when he was told he had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
According to Conner, the cancer was caught during tests that were supposed to be helping his knee treatments, as the Pitt star was dealing with a torn MCL at the time. Conner said the doctor said he wouldn’t have survived long if the disease was not found around Thanksgiving of 2015.
“He said you got about a week if you didn’t get this treated,” Conner recalled. “You had about a week, at the rate it was growing.”
The tumors were discovered around his heart, and Conner said that there could have been a chance he might have died on the field because the tumors applied pressure to the blood vessels in the area.
Between the injury and the cancer diagnosis, Conner was dealing with some of the most traumatic situations for a young college athlete.
“It’s easy to say it was the darkest time ever,” Conner said to Seander.
The former ACC Player of the Year started chemotherapy treatments in just a matter of weeks, and would be able to announce that he was cancer-free in the Spring of 2016.
Conner would go on to finish his collegiate career at Pitt, and then was drafted by the Steelers in the 3rd round of 2017 NFL Draft. After working a year behind Le’Veon Bell, Conner took command of the Steelers backfield and worked his way to represent the AFC in the Pro Bowl in 2018, rushing for 1,470 yards and 13 touchdowns.