Report: Steelers' James Conner Won't Opt out of 2020 Season Despite Pandemic

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJuly 28, 2020

Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner (30) warms up before an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Adam Hunger/Associated Press

The Pittsburgh Steelers reportedly can plan on having running back James Conner for the 2020 regular season.  

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday Conner is planning to play despite the coronavirus pandemic. 

NFL Network's James Palmer added Conner has said "for the last few months" he wouldn't let his status as a cancer survivor keep him from playing. 

As part of the NFL's agreement with the NFL Players Association for the 2020 season, players deemed high risk for the coronavirus are eligible to receive $350,000 and an accrued season if they opt out. 

During his junior season at the University of Pittsburgh, Conner announced in December 2015 he had been diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. The Pennsylvania native was able to continue working with the team during spring practice while undergoing treatment. 

In May 2016, Conner wrote on Twitter that doctors informed him he was cancer-free. He was named to the All-ACC first team as a junior after running for 1,092 yards and 16 touchdowns. 

The Steelers selected Conner in the third round of the 2017 NFL draft. He's been their starting running back for the past two seasons and was named to the 2018 Pro Bowl. 

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