Conner: ‘It would be hard’ to leave Pittsburgh

Steelers running back James Conner is scheduled to be a free agent after this season and says it “would be hard” to play for another team because of how connected he is to the city of Pittsburgh.

“It would be hard, it would be hard to put another helmet on. Just because of everything and what this city means to me,” Conner said on The Adam Schefter Podcast. “The city I played my college ball in, the city I had my life saved in, became healthy. The city I got drafted to, and I want to be able to say the city I brought a championship to.

“It would be hard. I’m Pittsburgh through and through. But like I said, I’m big on my faith, so I’m always going to end up doing and being where I’m supposed to be at through the Lord’s guidance and direction. We’ll see. We’ll take it one day at a time; I’m staying in the moment.”

After a Pro Bowl season in 2018, when Conner rushed for 973 yards and 12 touchdowns, he struggled in 2019, rushing for just 464 yards and 4 touchdowns as injuries contributed to his lack of production.

Before the draft, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said he expects Conner to be healthy this season and return to a Pro Bowl level as the team’s starter.

While at the University of Pittsburgh, Conner overcame a diagnosis of Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2015. The Steelers selected him in the third round of the 2017 draft.

The Steelers selected Maryland’s Anthony McFarland Jr. in the fourth round of last month’s draft. They also have 2019 fourth-round pick Benny Snell, who was second on the team with 426 rushing yards as a rookie, and 2018 fifth-round pick Jaylen Samuels on the depth chart.

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