James Conner Bio | Battle with Cancer, NFL & More!

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James Conner is an American football running back for the National Football League’s Arizona Cardinals (NFL).

The player attended the University of Pittsburgh and was drafted in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. In 2014, he was named an AFCA first-team All-American and the ACC Player of the Year.

James Conner is currently something in his football career that he has never done before: he plays for a team outside of western Pennsylvania.

James Conner
James Conner (Source: Instagram)

Conner did not have an easy life! The player has lived a story that offers wisdom and advice to anyone who has faced adversity. Conner has done everything, from fighting for his life to pursuing a career in the NFL.

Want to know more? Continue reading, and by the end of this article, you will be good to go! Before that, look at some of the quick facts about Conner. 

Quick Facts

Full Name James Earl Conner
Date of Birth May 5, 1995
Birth Place Erie, Pennsylvania
Nick Name The Terminator
Religion Christianity
Nationality American
Ethnicity Multiracial
Zodiac Sign Taurus
Age 29 years old
Height 6 feet 1 inch
Weight 98 kg
Hair Color Black
Eye Color Dark Brown
Build Athletic, Muscular
Father’s Name Glen Conne Sr.
Mother’s Name Kelly Patterson
Siblings Four Brothers (Glen, Richard, Michael, and Rico)
High School’s name McDowell High School
College Name University of Pittsburgh
Marital Status Not married
Girlfriend Sarah Quinn
Profession NFL player
Position Running Back
Team Arizona Cardinals
Active Years 2017 – present
NFL Draft Round: 3, Pick: 105, 2017
Rushing Average  4.2
Receiving yards 1,338
Rushing Yards 3,054
Receiving touchdowns 7
Rushing Touchdowns 37
Salary $1,250,000
Net Worth $2 Million
Social Media Instagram, Twitter
Last Update May, 2024

James Conner: Early Life and Family 

James was born on May 5, 1995, in Erie, Pennsylvania. His father’s name is Glen Conne Sr., and his mother is Kelly Patterson. The player’s full name is James Earl Conner. 

The player is the youngest of five brothers. His brothers’ names are Glen, Richard, Michael, and Rico. Rico is a stepbrother from his mother’s second marriage, while Glen, Richard, and Michael are blood relatives.

Young James Conner
Young James Conner (Source: Instagram)

Glen Jr. also plays football as a defensive lineman for his hometown Erie Express in the Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL).

Glen was also named the Express’ “Defensive Player of the Week” on April 22, 2019.

James Conner: High School Career

McDowell High School in Erie, Pennsylvania, was Conner’s alma mater. He played running back and defensive line for the Trojans.

As a senior, he rushed for 1,680 yards and 26 touchdowns on 155 carries. In August 2012, he committed to play college football at the University of Pittsburgh.

At Pitt, the player majored in communication.

James Conner: Fighting With Cancer

During his first two years at Pittsburgh University, running back James Conner established himself as one of the team’s biggest stars, breaking records and winning fans’ hearts.

However, unfortunately, in the first game of his junior season, he suffered a torn MCL. During rehab, James’s health deteriorated inexplicably until a chest X-ray and biopsy confirmed the unthinkable: Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Suddenly, it wasn’t just James’s NFL dream in jeopardy; it was his life. When he publicly announced his diagnosis, James rallied family, friends, and fans with his message of hope and courage: “Fear is a choice.” “I choose not to fear cancer.”

Thus, in ten words, Conner defined his journey on his terms and denied backing down from one of humankind’s most feared diseases.

The player underwent treatment but continued to practice with his team despite the intense physical toll of chemotherapy. James drew strength from his faith in God and the support of his community and loved ones.

Within a year, he was declared cancer-free. When he returned to the field in 2016, he had a record-breaking 56 touchdowns and 3,733 rushing yards.

His success continued when he entered the NFL draft early. He was drafted in the third round by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Quickly, James became one of the league’s most popular rookies.

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James Conner: Professional Career

James recovered from his illness in time to record his second 1,000-yard season at Pitt and re-establish himself as an NFL prospect.

Following that, he was drafted in the third round of the NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he spent his first four pro seasons.

The player signed a one-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals on April 13, 2021. He led the Cardinals to a victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Week 9 with 173 yards and three touchdowns.

James Conner playing for the Arizona
James Conner is playing for Arizona (Source: Instagram)

Similarly, James finished the season as the Cardinals’ leading rusher with 752 yards and second in league with 15 rushing touchdowns, a career-high. Conner signed a three-year contract with the Cardinals on March 14, 2022.

Career Highlights and Awards

  • 2× Pro Bowl (2021, 2018)
  • 2014 AFCA 1st team All-American 
  • 2014 ACC Player of the Year 
  • 2× First-team All-ACC (2016, 2014)
  • 2014 ACC Offensive Player of the Year 
  • 2016 ACC Brian Piccolo Award

Jersey Number

With Arizona, in addition to wearing Red for the first time, James tried a new jersey number. The player wore No. 6, a single-digit jersey number, for the first time in his career.

Conner was the Steelers’ No. 30. He wore No. 40 as a freshman at Pitt before switching to No. 24 for the remainder of his college career.

Fun fact, The player loved the number 24 so much that he got it tattooed! James has a tattoo that says ‘Pitt 24’ on the inner side of his left forearm.

James Conner: Autobiography

ACC Player of the Year and Pittsburgh Steelers running back Conner published his autobiography, ‘Fear Is a Choice: Tackling Life’s Challenges with Dignity, Faith, and Determination’ on June 16, 2020. 

In ‘Fear is a Choice,’ Conner candidly shares his experiences with cancer and beyond. Moreover, he encourages readers and illustrates the spiritual truths and personal principles that got him through his darkest days.

Indeed, James Conner inspires anyone who wants to learn how to face life’s challenges with dignity, faith, and resolve. 

Reading Conner’s book, Pat Narduzzi, head football coach at the University of Pittsburgh, said that James also inspires people who aren’t football fans.

The player has never backed down from an opponent on the field. With the same bravery and determination, he won the most crucial battle of his life: cancer.

James Conner: Girlfriend

James is currently in a relationship with Sarah Quinn. Sarah graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, where she was a cheerleader.

Sarah has a nursing career and works as a registered nurse at a Trauma and Burn Center. James and Sarah began dating after meeting at the University of Pittsburgh.

Significantly less is known about the couple as they have chosen to remain private about their romantic relationship. 

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James Conner: Tattoos

The player has many tattoos inked on his body. James has the words ‘CONNER STRONG’ tattooed on the inner side of his biceps, right and left, respectively.

This collaborative tattoo is the hashtag that served as his source of encouragement. It also kept him going throughout his illness.

James claims he got the tattoo because it is his favorite hashtag, and he wanted to keep it close to himself forever to remind himself that he is strong and has overcome all his challenges.

James has a large cross tattooed on the center of his chest. A pair of dove birds on each side are tattooed on its top. Another phrase,’ Fear is a choice,’ is inscribed on his right forearm.

James Conner has a body carved with tattoos
James Conner has a body carved with tattoos (Source: Instagram)

Similarly, an extensive tattoo near James’ collarbones says, ‘Dream Believe Achieve.’

James’ ideals and principles have always been centered on achieving everything he desires and believes he can obtain. This writing on his chest perfectly illustrates this. 

Likewise, on his right pec, clouds are inked behind them, and they can also see the sun’s rays. Further, James also has a tattoo of the character Joker from the film The Dark Knights on his inner left forearm.

Family Tattoo

James has the tattoo ‘Kelly 3′ on his right side. The player’s mother’s first name is Kelly (Kelly Patterson). This tattoo represents his love for his mother.

Similarly, Glen, Rich, Mike, and Rico are among the four names inked vertically on his upper left arm.

These four names are James’ siblings’ nicknames: Glen for Glen Conner, Rich for Richard Conner, Mike for Michael Conner, and Rico for Rico Conner.

James Conner: Age, Body Measurements, and more

The NFL player James Conner was born in the year 1995. Therefore, he is 29 years old. James was born in the Pig year according to the Chinese Calendar. Likewise, his zodiac sign is Taurus. 

Regarding his physique, James stands tall at 6 feet 1 inch and weighs 101 kg. Unfortunately, his other body measurements are currently unknown. 

James is a gym guy! The player works out regularly and has a perfect body. During his treatment sessions, he would go to the gym afterward, even wearing his surgical masks. Similarly, he is also someone who is up for attending the 4:30 am practice sessions.

The player is an American citizen with American nationality. He has black hair and dark brown eyes. Similarly, he is of multiracial ethnicity and practices Christianity.

James Conner: Facts and Trivia

James appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on April 21, 2016. There, he met Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry. Like James, Eric also overcame Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

James always saw Eric as an inspirational figure. The two players had communicated via text message during Conner’s treatment but had never met in person. 

Likewise, Conner began growing a mullet during the 2018 season, which became popular among Steeler fans and fully embraced the Yinzer culture with the hairstyle.

Moreover, the player joined a list of Pittsburgh natives and sports stars who have worn the hairstyle, most notably former Pittsburgh Penguins star Jaromr Jág.

James Conner: Net Worth

The player’s net worth at the moment is approximately $2 Million. James signed a three-year, $21 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals in 2022.

The contract also includes a $6,000,000 signing bonus, a $13,500,000 guarantee, as well as a $7,000,000 average annual salary. 

Moreover, Conner will earn a base salary of $1,750,000, a roster bonus of $225,000, and a signing bonus of $6,000,000 in 2022. He will have a $3,975,000 cap hit and a dead cap value of $13,500,000.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Has James Conner undergone surgery?

Yes, the NFL player has undergone surgery. He was placed on injured reserve on December 19, 2017, due to an MCL injury that necessitated surgery.

Likewise, Conner underwent foot surgery to repair a turf-toe injury in 2021. According to reports, the injury occurred while riding a recreational vehicle.

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Aayusha Bhattarai

Aayusha Bhattarai is a dedicated writer with a passion for uncovering the fascinating stories behind athletes' lives. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for storytelling, she brings readers on a journey through the triumphs, struggles, and inspirations of their favorite players.


Athlete Profiles Net Worth


  • Aayusha explores the off-field lives of athletes, from their hobbies and interests to their family dynamics.
  • She keeps readers informed with the latest news and developments in the world of sports.


Aayusha's passion for sports journalism stems from her love of both writing and athletics. With a background in journalism and a keen interest in sports, she combines her talents to deliver compelling stories that resonate with readers.

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