Steelers’ James Conner: ‘It’s just a different practice field’
PITTSBURGH — James Conner is here for this.
But he already was. In his four years Pitt he shared a practice facility with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He’s not shy about having looked over at Steelers practices longingly.
Conner would see Ben Roethlisberger handing the ball to Le’Veon Bell or throwing it to Antonio Brown and hope to one day join in their offense.
Now that he has, though, it’s just a matter of fact — business at hand.
“And I did that,” Conner said. “I’m happy.”
Speaking after his first day of rookie minicamp practice Conner, who inspired many with his defeat of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma between his final two years at Pitt, made it clear that the celebratory feelings of having joined the NFL and the team he watched practice for years has to be behind him, and are.
James Conner reflects on Pittsburgh Steelers rookie minicamp, Day 1
“I really got past all the emotions on draft night. Just like Coach Tomlin said, ‘It’s emotional. It’s a great feeling,'” Conner said. “He was happy for me and my family. But we have to get past that. We have work to do. I always say I am blessed. But I just came to work today.”
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In rookie minicamp Conner is one of four running backs. He and Rushel Shell have contracts. The others don’t.
And on the full Steelers roster, he’s in a backfield group of six that’s dominated by Le’Veon Bell, includes former Kansas City Chief Knile Davis and Fitzgerald Toussaint, who filled in for Bell during the Steelers’ 2015 playoff run.
He’s over sentimentality.
“It’s just a different practice field. That’s really the only thing. I’m very blessed and fortunate to be here, because I am comfortable here, at this facility,” Conner said. “It’s just different grass that I’m on.”
James Conner runs at Pittsburgh Steelers rookie minicamp
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