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James Conner will not opt out of season despite cancer history

Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner is a cancer survivor, and his medical history has led some to wonder if he will opt out of the 2020 season under the NFL’s coronavirus agreement. That apparently will not be the case. Conner has informed the Steelers he will play this season, according to Tom Pelissero of… Read More

Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner is a cancer survivor, and his medical history has led some to wonder if he will opt out of the 2020 season under the NFL’s coronavirus agreement. That apparently will not be the case.

Conner has informed the Steelers he will play this season, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

As Pelissero noted, New England Patriots offensive lineman Marcus Cannon — another cancer survivor — has opted out of the season. Players who opt out for health reasons are eligible to collect a $350,000 payment and will accrue a season toward free agency. Players who opt out for non-health reasons get $150,000 and the season does not count toward their free agency.

Conner was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when he was rehabbing from a torn MCL at the University of Pittsburgh in 2015. He was declared cancer-free six months later and has been in remission since. His story has been an inspiration for many NFL fans and players.

Conner was expected to fill the void left by Le’Veon Bell with the Steelers, but he battled a nagging shoulder injury last season and rushed for just 464 yards in 10 games. Pittsburgh will be hoping for a bigger year out of him in 2020 with Ben Roethlisberger back in the fold.

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