With the status of LeVeon Bell growing more doubtful with every day he doesn’t report to the team, both coaches and teammates have stepped up with overwhelming support for James Conner to be able get the job done. At his weekly press conference, Coach Tomlin was asked if the game plan would change if Conner were to get the start over Bell. His answer was simple:
Coach Tomlin went on to say how he’s seen improvement from James in all areas since last season. He described Conner as going, “from a rookie that missed time due to soft-tissue injuries and lack of general readiness to a guy that’s done the things that we’ve outlined...”
The best endorsement of Conner in the same press conference was when Coach Tomlin was asked if he was more comfortable now with what’s behind Bell going into Cleveland than last year. His answer was simple once again:
Even more simple was his response to the follow-up question as to why that is:
Coach Tomlin wasn’t the only team spokesman with a ringing endorsement for James Conner this week. According to ESPN’s to Jeremy Fowler, Ramon Foster said when asked about James, “When you’re ready, you’re ready. He’s ready.”
In his weekly interview with 93.7 The Fan, Ben Rothlisberger also had a lot of praise for Conner. When asked about him as a receiver and a pass-blocker, Ben had plenty to say.
“I’ve watched James really grow in a lot of areas. We all know what James can do running the ball. I’ve told him this, and it’s no secret, I felt like whether he worked on it or not, his hands have gotten much better since last year. He’s catching a lot of passes and tough passes. So as a receiver, he also gets to the spot he needs to get to right now.”
Ben also was pleased with Connor’s improvement in blitz pickup.
“Where it starts, when it comes to this, is your heart and desire and will to want to block. And James has that.”
Ever since he was drafted last season, Steelers Nation has been in love with Conner. His story of battling cancer is inspiring to many. And through hard work and dedication, he’s earning a massive amount of respect from his teammates and coaches.
If he gets the nod for Week 1, it’ll be nearly impossible to find anyone who’s not pulling for him.