Pittsburgh Panthers

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 25: James Conner #24 of the Pittsburgh Panthers runs with the ball against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets during the game at Heinz Field on October 25, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Panthers lost 56-28. (Photo by Matt Kincaid/Getty Images)
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WATCH: Pitt RB James Conner discusses his lymphoma battle on “The Ellen Show”

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Pitt running back James Conner is in the midst of his battle with Stage 2 Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Following his Dec. 4 diagnosis, Conner says his final treatment is slated for May 9.

The clip shows Conner’s highlight tape (can’t imagine the typical Ellen viewer is a regular of ACC football Saturdays), then shows him going through workouts, with clips of head coach Pat Narduzzi and his Panthers teammates discussing the inspiration they draw from their star running back. Conner mentions the strength he draws from watching former Tennessee safety and current Kansas City Chief Eric Berry go through his own bout with lymphoma. Ellen then brings out a surprise guest. (Hint: It’s Eric Berry.)

The highlight of the interview comes when Ellen asks Conner how he manages to put himself through practice and workouts while going through chemotherapy.

Conner’s response? “We’ve got a game September 3rd.”

Chills.

After leaving Pitt, QB Chad Voytik opts to continue at FCS level

during the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl game at Amon G. Carter Stadium on January 2, 2015 in Fort Worth, Texas.
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If Chad Voytik is to get his playing career back on track, he’ll do so at a lower rung on the collegiate level.

Back in January, Pittsburgh announced that Voytik had decided to move on from the Panthers to pursue other opportunities elsewhere.  If those other opportunities had included a move to another FBS program, he would’ve, as a grad transfer, been eligible to play immediately in 2016.

Instead of the FBS, however, it appears he’ll take the FCS tack.

Because Voytik will be playing at the FCS level as well as his status as a grad transfer, he’ll have immediate eligibility. This will be his final season of eligibility.

Voytik was Pitts’s starter in 2014, but lost the job last year to Tennessee transfer Nathan Peterman. With Peterman eligible for another season in 2016 and firmly entrenched as the starter, Voytik opted to transfer out.

In addition to EKU, Voytik had also considered Indiana and Memphis.

Pitt RB James Conner to appear on ‘Ellen Degeneres Show’

James Conner, Anthony Gair
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The respect and admiration for James Conner‘s fight against cancer has taken a national, non-sports turn.

The producers of the “Ellen Degeneres Show” announced Thursday that the Pittsburgh running back will be a guest on the comedienne’s popular daytime talk show next week.  Conner will fly out to Burbank, Calif., next Wednesday and tape his appearance for a show that will air Friday.

In early December, Conner revealed that he had been diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkin’s lymphoma in his neck and chest. Conner began treatment a short time later, a course that’s expected to take a period of six months.  The treatment hasn’t kept Connor completely away from the Panthers, however, as the running back was seen on video working out with teammates in February while he has been doing some individuals drills since the start of spring practice last month.  Earlier this month, Conner threw out the first pitch for the season opener of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi said earlier this offseason that he expects Connor to play in 2016, and those expectations haven’t changed as the back has completed 10 of 12 rounds of chemotherapy.

As a sophomore, Conner was named the ACC’s Player of the Year in 2014.  He was fully expected to leave for the NFL following the 2015 season before the combination of a season-ending knee injury suffered in September and the cancer diagnosis prompted a return to Pitt.

Donald Trump asks ‘how’s Joe Paterno?’ at Pittsburgh stop

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 06:  Donald Trump attends the 2015 Hank's Yanks Golf Classic at Trump Golf Links Ferry Point on July 6, 2015 in New York City.  (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)
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Yep.

Donald Trump, who may or may not get the vote of UCLA’s star quarterback, is, at the moment at least, the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination.  Joe Paterno, the legendary former Penn State who stepped down in disgrace in 2011, lost his brief battle with cancer in 2012.

At a Pittsburgh — Pittsburgh, mind you — campaign stop earlier today, those two worlds collided in the most seemingly awkward manner possible.

Alas, the first by way of one of Paterno’s sons, we may have a more rational explanation for Trump’s supposed gaffe in the backyard of Penn State’s in-state rival.

So maybe that’s just that. Much ado about nothing, a slight miscommunication on the part of the candidate.

In closing, though, we’ll toss out this tweet blast from the past from The Donald.

UPDATED 9:44 p.m. ET: The latest from the “Night of the Living Donald.”  Or “The Donald of the Dead.”  Or whatever.

Cancer fighter James Connor to throw out first pitch at Pirates opener

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 20: Tailback James Conner #24 of the University of Pittsburgh Panthers runs with the ball against the University of Iowa Hawkeyes during a college football game at Heinz Field on September 20, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Hawkeyes defeated the Pitt Panthers 24-20. (Photo by Matt Kincaid/Getty Images)
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James Connor‘s battle against cancer as he looks to resume his football career will include a brief detour to a professional stick-and-ball field.

The Pittsburgh Pirates announced Wednesday that the Pittsburgh Panthers running back will throw out the ceremonial first pitch for the major league club’s 2016 opener.  The Pirates open the season at PNC Park against the St. Louis Cardinals this coming Sunday.

“I’m honored and thrilled to throw out the first pitch for the Pirates’ season opener and I want to thank everyone in the organization for this incredible invitation,” Conner said in a statement. “It has been a long time since I played baseball but I’ll make sure my arm is ready to throw a strike on Sunday. The Bucs’ road to the World Series begins this weekend and I can’t wait to be at PNC Park.”

In early December, Conner revealed that he had been diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkin’s lymphoma in his neck and chest. Conner began treatment a short time later, a course that’s expected to take a period of six months.  The treatment hasn’t kept Connor completely away from the Panthers, however, as the running back was seen on video working out with teammates last month while he has been doing some individuals drills since the start of spring practice this month.

Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi said earlier this offseason that he expects Connor to play in 2016.

As a sophomore, Conner was named the ACC’s Player of the Year in 2014.  He was fully expected to leave for the NFL following the 2015 season before the combination of a season-ending knee injury suffered in September and the cancer diagnosis prompted a return to Pitt.