Myles Garrett isn’t leading the NFL in rookie jersey sales. Neither is Deshaun Watson. That honor belongs to James Conner, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ third-round draft pick in 2017, according to data from Dick’s Sporting Goods. And there’s a good reason.
Conner, an All-American at Pitt, fulfilled his dream of making it to the NFL when he was drafted 105th overall by the Steelers. But that accomplishment pales in comparison to what Connor did in 2016. He beat Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
He tore his MCL during Pitt’s first game of the season, and during the rehab process, doctors discovered a lump in Conner’s chest. It was diagnosed as Hodgkin’s in December 2015. Hodgkin’s lymphoma is treatable, but it can be deadly. Conner underwent treatment, and by May 2016, he was cancer-free.
There’s no quit in James Conner. You can see that in this video from his first post-treatment practice.
Just four months later, Conner was back on the field for the Panthers. In Pitt’s first game of the season, he scored two touchdowns. He finished his final season at Pitt with 1,092 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Connor isn’t just leading the rookie jersey sales. He’s third right now behind only Tom Brady and Dak Prescott league wide.
James Conner has already overcome his toughest opponent | SB N...
NFL draft prospect James Conner has already overcome his toughest opponent — Stage 2 Hodgkin's lymphoma.Posted by SB Nation NFL on Friday, April 21, 2017
So it’s no surprise that fans are passing up some of the bigger NFL names to buy James Conner’s jersey. He’s an inspiration.