Friday afternoon, Conner revealed that he has been diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkin’s lymphoma in his neck and chest. Conner will begin treatment this coming Tuesday, a course that’s expected to take a period of six months.
And, just as he’s done to opposing defenses, Conner is prepared to hit the disease head-on.
“When I heard those words–`You have cancer’–I admit I was scared,” Conner said. “But after thinking about it for a bit, I realized that fear is a choice. I choose to not fear cancer. I choose to fight it and I will win. …
“I know there are so many people in the world who were told by their doctors this week that they also have cancer. I want them to know that together we can, and will, beat cancer.”
While hearing the word “cancer” is certainly a scary deal for anyone, Conner said that his type has a cure rate of between 85 and 95 percent. In fact, Conner received a similar diagnosis to that of former Tennessee great Eric Berry, who beat the disease and is back playing with the Kansas City Chiefs.
“I will play football again. I will be at Heinz Field again. I have the best coaches and teammates in the country. I thank God I chose Pitt because now I also have the best doctors in the country and together we will win. I know this city has my back.”
As a sophomore, Conner was named the ACC’s Player of the Year in 2014. This was expected to be his last season at the collegiate level prior to his knee injury in early September, although, based on the diagnosis and his comments, he seems poised for at least one more season with the Panthers.