James Conner is an American football running back for the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Pittsburgh and was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft. In 2014, he garnered AFCA first-team All-American honors and was awarded the ACC Player of the Year.
As a true freshman in 2013, Conner played in 12 of 13 games. He made his collegiate debut during the Panthers’ season-opening loss to Florida State and had eight carries for 34 yards. The following week, he scored his first career touchdown against New Mexico and finished the win with 12 carries, 119 rushing yards, and a season-high two touchdowns.
In Week 1 against the New York Giants on Monday Night Football, Conner rushed six times for nine yards before exiting the game due to an ankle injury. The Steelers won the game 26–16 without Conner in the lineup. Conner bounced back in Week 2 against the Denver Broncos with 106 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in the 26–21 victory.
He recorded 18 carries for 109 rushing yards in the 28–21 victory over the Houston Texans in Week 3. In Week 6 against the Cleveland Browns, he had 20 carries for 101 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown in the 38–7 victory. On November 28, 2020, Conner was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list after testing positive for the virus and activated on December 9.
In the Wild Card round of the playoffs against the Cleveland Browns, Conner rushed for 37 yards and a touchdown and caught 5 passes for 30 yards during the 48–37 loss. On April 13, 2021, Conner signed a one-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals.
In Week 9, Conner led the Cardinals over the San Francisco 49ers with 173 total yards and 3 touchdowns. He finished the season as the Cardinals leading rusher with 752 yards and finished second in the league with a career-high 15 rushing touchdowns. On March 14, 2022, Conner signed a three-year contract extension with the Cardinals.
James Conner was raised by his parents, Kelly Patterson and Glen Conner Sr., and is the youngest of five brothers. His brothers are Glen, Richard, Michael, and Rico. Glen, Richard, and Michael are blood-related, while Rico is a stepbrother from his mother’s second marriage.