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James Conner's performance in his Steelers debut was beyond nice to see

Steelers rookie running back James Conner made his professional football debut on Sunday against the Falcons at Heinz Field. Was his 20-carry, 98-yard performance an indication of the kind of career he'll have? Can't say, but it sure was nice to see.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

James Conner had to miss his first preseason game against the Giants at MetLife Stadium on August 11, due to a shoulder ailment that had limited his practice time at training camp.

Tough break, but perhaps it was a blessing in disguise, as it allowed Conner to make his professional football debut in the same place where he wowed some of the very same fans as a member of the Pitt Panthers.

While Conner didn't start against the Falcons at Heinz Field in the Steelers second exhibition game of 2017 on Sunday, he was clearly the workhorse, as evidenced by the 98 yards he recorded on a pretty substantial 20 carries.

As a fan of both Pitt and the Steelers, it was nice to see Conner have such a great performance, yes, even if the bulk of his yards came against Atlanta's third and fourth-string defenders.

And it wasn't because I think Conner can possibly replace the now kind of unpopular Le'Veon Bell, who has yet to sign his franchise tag and is nowhere to be found at the moment.

It wasn't because I am confident Conner will go on to have a career similar to fellow Pitt Panther and running back Curtis Martin, who was drafted in the same round and went on to make the Hall of Fame.

Also, it wasn't because of Conner's tremendous story about overcoming a couple of epic gut punches while at Pitt, one which threatened his professional career (a torn MCL suffered in the first game of the 2015 season) and the other which threatened his life (cancer).

It had nothing to do with Conner showing up Bell, who, again, has been labeled a selfish football player for his refusal to accept the Steelers reportedly lucrative deal back in July.

No, I think the main reason Conner's debut at Heinz Field on Sunday was so nice and special is because it was totally organic.

How often do we try to contrive stories in sports these days, especially in the age of social media?

Four years ago, when long-suffering Pirates fans converged on PNC Park and became a singular and very tangible force in the National League Wildcard game against the Reds, it was an amazing scene.

Early in the game, when they chanted Reds' pitcher Johnny Cueto's name in unison and in a menacing fashion, they seemingly forced him to drop the baseball. Seconds later, catcher Russell Martin went deep to get the Buccos off and running towards a memorable night

After that, similar chants at opposing pitchers became the norm in subsequent postseason games, but, by then, the magic was lost.

Back to Conner and his debut on Sunday.

Let's face it, preseason games can be a drag, and it's hard to find reasons to stay invested in the action.

In Game 1 in New York, first round pick T.J. Watt gave us a nice glimpse of what he's capable of, when he recorded two sacks.

What's next? Will second round pick JuJu Smith-Schuster do something this Saturday night that gives the fans a reason to come up with a cool and organic nickname to chant?

Perhaps third round pick Cameron Sutton will finally make his debut against the Colts and come up with a few plays that will give fans hope for a secondary that's still very-much in transition.

Preseason action isn't about Ben Roethlisberger or Antonio Brown.

It's often about the new guys, and when they perform like James Conner did on Sunday, again, it's just really nice to see.