When the announcement came that Pitt running back James Conner was cancer free, fans wondered what would be the next steps since it seems more likely he will be ready for the start of the season. His doctor said after the announcement, after all, that once his chemo port was out, he would have no physical practice restrictions.
There have been several great posts on social media indicating how fans can't wait for Conner to get the ball in his hands against Penn State on September 10th at Heinz Field. But while that is one of the highest-profile games on the team's radar and the team's second game of the year, Conner and the Panthers need your support starting with the team's opener against Villanova over Labor Day weekend.
Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m. on that Saturday, and that figures to be Conner's first game back. I can't remember if it was Chris Peak, of Pantherlair or Dejan Kovacevic, from DK Sports (or someone else), but someone said a mouthful when they said Conner deserves to run onto the field that day and see fans instead of yellow seats. Of course, the Pitt coaching staff and other players deserve that as well, but this is about making that game extra special for Conner.
We can go on and on about his fight against cancer since the winter and what a great story that is, but ask around or read a few other articles before the cancer. #24 is a pretty great person too and seems to give 100% in every aspect of the Pitt Panther football program and in life. Any Pitt fans within 100 miles of Heinz Field should make their way to the stadium show a little support for his first game back. We all know it will be packed the following weekend for Penn State, but it would be nice if, for once, Pitt fans showed up for something other than a perfect storm.
Many of us can share our own stories of meeting Conner and also hearing of his great personality off the field. Dan Sostek wrote a comprehensive piece in The Pitt News after Conner was diagnosed and I implore you to take a few minutes and read it. It's a great piece and really shows you what kind of person, not player, Conner is.
Conner has felt the support from fans online since his initial cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatments. But on September 3rd at the team's opener, he deserves to hear it from a big crowd in attendance.