James Conner always felt destined to be drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Of course, he was, in 2017, even if there was some hand-wringing over how ‘early’ he was drafted, in the compensatory stages of the third round.
A local-area native, a Steelers fan, a Pitt alum, a cancer survivor, all of the strings of his history wove itself into a sort of destined mythology, and that reached its current zenith during the 2018 season, when he got to take over the running back position for the no-show Le’Veon Bell, scoring 13 touchdowns that year and being named outright to the Pro Bowl.
Conner is entering the 2020 season, however, coming off of a frustrating year that was full of injuries, missing large portions of the season and playing through most of the rest of it through one type of an injury or another. Even through that, there were some games in which he looked like the best player on the field.
Now heading into the final year of his rookie contract, most have their doubts as to whether or not he will be re-signed by the Steelers in time. They have drafted a running back in the middle rounds in each of the next three successive drafts, including Anthony McFarland with pick number 124 a couple of weeks ago.
Last week, Conner popped in on Instagram live with Mamba Sports Academy to talk about his life, his career, his future, and his new book. At one point during the conversation, he was asked about what his goals are for the rest of his career, and he had one clear, decisive answer.
I want a Super Bowl so bad. That’s the honest answer. I just want that feeling. I never got that feeling for any type of a championship before, whether it be state or college. It’s something that’s bigger than me. I’ve got all types of individual awards, but I want something that I can hold on to and how you can really be remembered. I can see, especially in the Burgh, how they treat Super Bowl champions and how they idolize those teams, and that’s really honestly what I do it for.
I certainly would like to see Conner reach his goal in 2020, since it would mean another championship for the Steelers, made all the better now that the New England Patriots’ championship window has, finally, ostensibly closed, albeit just as another for the Kansas City Chiefs may be blowing open.