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James Conner hopes to extend stay with Steelers

Conner: “I’m Pittsburgh through and through.”

Kansas City Chiefs v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Former Pitt running back James Conner is set to enter the fourth and final year of the rookie contract he signed in 2017 tying him to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and during a recent interview on The Adam Schefter Podcast with Adam Schefter of ESPN, Conner discussed his future with the franchise and expressed a desire to remain in Pittsburgh.

“It would be hard to put another helmet on just because of everything and what this city means to me,” Conner told Schefter in the interview. “The city I played my college ball in, the city I had my life saved in, became healthy. The city I got drafted to and I want to be able to say the city I brought a championship to.”

“It would be hard,” he continued. “I’m Pittsburgh through and through. But like I said, I’m big on my faith, so I’m always going to end up doing and being where I’m supposed to be through the lord’s guidance and direction. We’ll see. We’ll take it one day at a time.”

Through the first three years of his NFL career, Conner has experienced the highs and lows of the league. After riding the bench behind then-Steelers star Le’Veon Bell in 2017, Conner earned AFC Offensive Player of the Month honors and a Pro Bowl nod during a 2018 season in which he ran for 973 yards and 12 touchdowns. However, he struggled somewhat during an injury-shortened 2019 season in which his effectiveness was limited by the Steelers’ failure to establish a passing attack with Ben Roethlisberger sidelined.

Given the manner in which Conner’s career has fluctuated, it is unclear what the Steelers' plans for the running back will be at the end of his contract term, and much will likely depend on his performance in 2020.