In the wake of the terrible news surrounding Pitt running back James Conner's Hodgkin's Lymphoma diagnosis on Friday, there has been, as expected, an outpouring of support for the offensive star. It's natural to assume that support would come locally, but the news and well-wishes has extended far beyond the borders of Pitt's campus in Oakland.
There certainly has been much more than even this and that's not to include all of the notable Pitt staff and players tweets. Here's a snippet of some of the other support Conner has received since Friday's news of his cancer diagnosis.
Before I get to the coverage beyond the University, the Oakland Zoo was one of the first to give James their full support - and it got his attention:
SI's Pete Thamel was also one of many to recognize the Zoo's efforts from the Duquesne game last night.
Also locally, was this from Pitt's Heinz Field neighbor, the Pittsburgh Steelers:
They weren't alone as the Pirates joined in from adjacent PNC Park:
Not to be outdone, so did the Penguins:
Pens-related, too, there was this from cancer survivor, Mario Lemieux:
Best wishes to #Pitt RB James Conner in his fight against Hodgkin’s – stay strong!
— Mario Lemieux (@MarioLemieuxFdn) December 4, 2015
And while he's local to us, go ahead and count former Pitt legend and NFL great Dan Marino as those currently outside of the city giving his support:
A little further away, from the conference, there were ACC coaches Larry Fedora and Dabo Swinney with a video announcement through the ACC website. If you're wondering about the link there, it's because Fedora's North Carolina Tar Heels will face Clemson and Dabo Swinney in the ACC title game, obviously. They were both handy and shot some content for the site. Classy move by the ACC's Digital Network folks in getting those two guys to be involved.
Looking to Pitt's in-state neighbor, obviously there's no love lost with Penn State. But this was a very classy move by the Nittany Lions' head coach James Franklin:
Penn State's official account also sent some love, too. I know many people will think that Franklin has to do something like that, but I don't see it that way - especially since the official Penn State account did. He has no ties to Pitt and the back and forth with his coaching staff vs. that of the Panthers' on Twitter is one that's been well-documented. Obviously that shouldn't mean Franklin should not offer his support in the slightest, but it was still a classy response that he did. Well done.
Speaking of rivals, some popular West Virginia sites joined Penn State with some respect for Conner. I particularly liked the first from SB Nation's Smoking Musket:
Cancer should probably be terrified of having to take on James Conner.
— Smoking Musket (@SmokingMusket) December 4, 2015
Prayers out to #Pitt running back James Conner, who announced today that he has been diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma.
— Gold And Blue Zone (@GoldAndBlueZone) December 4, 2015
I should add, too, that an unofficial hat tip needs to go to fans and students of both of those programs (and there were many) that gave their support. In addition, awesome amount of respect from the many programs and coaches in college football (such as fellow former Big East and current ACC rival Syracuse, for example) that supported James publicly. Really great to see all of that.
ESPN lobbed plenty of support his way as well and got a really nice message from Scott Van Pelt on his national show. He gave a heads up on Twitter that he would mention it so a lot of Pitt fans fortunately knew to tune in. While I missed it this morning, College Gameday reportedly had something as well a short while ago. And Chris Fowler, the show's former host, wished him well, too.
Inspiring: positive energy of Pitt stud @JamesConner_ as he begins cancer battle, urging all patients to draw strength from each other.
— Chris Fowler (@cbfowler) December 4, 2015
Outside of the world of sports, Pennsylvania senator Bob Casey offered a shoutout, too:
.@JamesConner_ Thinking of you and your family during this difficult time. It's clear you have the strength to beat this diagnosis.
— Senator Bob Casey (@SenBobCasey) December 5, 2015
This certainly doesn't account for the full amount of notable support Conner got, but it's clear to see the impact he's made on and off the field to earn that sort of respect.
It goes without saying, but Cardiac Hill offers its thoughts, prayers, and love. Beat this thing, James.