James Conner

Arizona Cardinals
Running Back #30
Arizona Cardinals
Running Back #30
Photo: Icon Sportswire

James Conner News

On track for training camp

Conner (toe) participated in OTAs in June, according to Jess Root of CardsWire.

Analysis: Conner had offseason toe surgery and was expected to be healthy at some point in June. It isn't clear if he was a full participant in OTAs, but the ability to practice in any capacity suggests he should be ready for the start of training camp in late July. Signed to a one-year, $1.75 million contract this spring, Conner will compete with Chase Edmonds for snaps and touches out of the Arizona backfield.

Jun 29, 2021 1:10 PM EST

Signs with Arizona

Conner is signing with the Cardinals, Jay Glazer of Fox Sports reports.

Analysis: Conner visited with the Cardinals on Monday and reportedly reached an agreement to sign Tuesday morning. After spending the first four years of his career in Pittsburgh, the soon-to-be 26-year-old joins an Arizona backfield where Chase Edmonds is the only other player with considerable NFL experience. Granted, the Cardinals still have plenty of time to add more bodies, particularly during the NFL Draft. Conner is still rehabbing from offseason toe surgery, with the expectation he'll be healthy at some point in June.

Apr 13, 2021 8:28 AM EST

Recovering from surgery

Conner is recovering from toe surgery but should be healthy in June, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.

Analysis: An unrestricted free agent, Conner is scheduled to meet with the Cardinals on Monday. He doesn't seem to have drummed up much interest otherwise, but a move to Arizona would give him a realistic shot to earn significant playing time, even if he settles for a one-year contract with minimal guarantees. Conner may end up waiting until after the 2021 NFL Draft, at which point team needs will be clearer.

Apr 12, 2021 12:50 PM EST

Set to visit Cardinals

Conner is scheduled to visit the Cardinals, Jay Glazer of Fox Sports reports.

Analysis: Following the free-agent departure of Kenyan Drake, it's pretty clear that the Cardinals need to bolster their backfield, either through the draft or by signing an experienced option like Conner. For now, Chase Edmonds sits atop the team's running back depth chart and if Conner does elect to head to Arizona, there's a path to a significant role. The 25-year-old is coming off a 2020 campaign in which he logged 169 carries for 721 yards and six TDs to go along with 35 catches for 215 yards in 13 games with the Steelers.

Apr 12, 2021 9:37 AM EST

Could stay in steel city?

The Steelers could try to re-sign Conner, but they won't necessarily bring him back as their starting running back, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Analysis: Conner was the team's lead back for the final three season of his rookie contract, starting with a breakout 2018 in which he piled up 1,470 total yards and 13 touchdowns in 13 games. He sunk to 715 yards and seven TDs in 10 games the next season, before putting up 936 yards and six scores across 13 appearances in 2020. The 2017 third-round pick can become an unrestricted free agent in March, two months prior to his 26th birthday. Staying in Pittsburgh might give him his best shot at a starting job, though it would depend on the team's other transactions in free agency and the draft. None of the guys behind Conner in the Pittsburgh backfield -- Benny Snell, Anthony McFarland, Jaylen Samuels -- was able to make a significant impact in 2020, with the team finishing dead last in both rushing yards (1,351) and yards per carry (3.6).

Jan 21, 2021 7:27 AM EST

Tallies 62 total yards

Conner rushed the ball nine times for 37 yards in Week 17 against the Browns. He added five receptions for 25 yards.

Analysis: Conner led the Steelers' backfield with nine carries, though the team attempted only 20 total rushes for the game. He remained involved as a receiver, and has combined for 10 receptions and 70 yards across his last two games. Conner ends the regular season with 936 total yards, falling shy of 1,000 for the second consecutive campaign. He will presumably serve as the team's lead back throughout its playoff run prior to entering the offseason as a free agent.

Jan 3, 2021 5:01 PM EST

Finds end zone in return

Conner (quadriceps) carried five times for 20 yards and a touchdown while catching all five of his targets for an additional 45 yards during Sunday's 28-24 win over the Colts.

Analysis: Returning from a one-game absence, Conner marked the occasion with a one-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter. His carries were limited as his team trailed for the majority of the game, but he offset that by notching new season highs in catches and receiving yards. Conner has been held under 40 rushing yards in four of his last five games, but he is presumably healthy now and will look to finish the regular season on a high note in next Sunday's finale against the Browns.

Dec 27, 2020 2:40 PM EST

Returns to full practice

Conner (quad) practiced fully Wednesday, Teresa Varley of the Steelers' official site reports.

Analysis: That puts Conner, who sat out this past Monday's loss to the Bengals, on track to be available Sunday against the Colts. That said, Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL Network previously noted that coach Mike Tomlin indicated that Benny Snell -- one of the team's few bright spots in Week 15 -- has to "have the opportunity to be impactful" this weekend. Such a scenario would clearly cut into Conner's Week 16 workload.

Dec 23, 2020 1:51 PM EST

Could be back Week 16

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said Conner (quadriceps) may be available for Sunday's game against the Colts, but he wouldn't guarantee that the 25-year-old would serve as Pittsburgh's lead back if he suits up, Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL Network reports.

Analysis: Though the Steelers suffered an embarrassing 27-17 loss to the 3-10-1 Bengals while Conner was sidelined Week 15, fill-in starter Benny Snell was one of the few bright spots for Pittsburgh, rushing 18 times for 84 yards and a touchdown and hauling in three of four targets for 23 yards. Per Kinkhabwala, Tomlin said Tuesday that Snell will "have the opportunity to be impactful" against the Colts, suggesting Pittsburgh could opt for a timeshare out of the backfield if Conner gains clearance to play. With no touchdowns and only 185 yards from scrimmage over his previous four outings, Conner's fantasy value had already been on the decline, and the prospect of him sharing work coming off an injury would only further dim his appeal.

Dec 22, 2020 9:35 AM EST

Won't play Monday

The Steelers have downgraded Conner (quadriceps) to out for Monday's game in Cincinnati.

Analysis: Conner's quad injury will force him to miss his third game in four weeks. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Benny Snell is the favorite to draw the start in Conner's stead, though Jaylen Samuels and Anthony McFarland will also be candidates to handle increased roles.

Dec 21, 2020 12:57 PM EST

Expected to miss Monday's game

The Steelers are expected to downgrade Conner (quadriceps) to out for Monday's game against the Bengals, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.

Analysis: Conner clearly wasn't himself in Week 14, his first game back from a two-week absence, when he went for just 18 yards on 10 carries against Buffalo. Given the 25-year-old's injury history, the Steelers may simply be taking a cautious approach to his health while keeping an eye toward the postseason. Benny Snell is expected to start in Conner's place, while Jaylen Samuels and Anthony McFarland could also see increased roles.

Dec 21, 2020 12:45 PM EST

Questionable for Monday

Conner (quad) is listed as questionable for Monday's game against the Bengals, Adam Caplan of SiriusXM NFL Radio reports.

Analysis: Conner was a limited participant in practice for a second consecutive day opening up the possibility the fourth-year back could be able to play against the Bengals on Monday. Conner was hardly effective in the previous meeting with Cincinnati in Week 10 (13 carries for 36 yards) so fantasy managers may just want err on the side of caution especially given the nature of the 25-year-old's injury.

Dec 19, 2020 12:33 PM EST

Returns to practice

Conner (quad) returned to a limited practice Friday, Brian Batko of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Analysis: That's a step in the right direction for the Steelers' lead back, after he sat out Thursday's practice. Saturday's injury report will reveal whether Conner approaches Monday night's game against the Bengals with an injury designation or is cleared for Week 15 action. Next up for the team's carries if he's limited or out, however, are Benny Snell and Jaylen Samuels.

Dec 18, 2020 12:34 PM EST

DNP Thursday

Conner (quad) didn't practice Thursday, Teresa Varley of the Steelers' official site reports.

Analysis: The running back still has two chances to return to practice this week, but his status must be closely monitored as Monday night's game against the Bengals approaches. If he's out or limited in Week 15, Benny Snell and Jaylen Samuels would be in line to head the Steelers' backfield versus 2-10-1 Cincinnati.

Dec 17, 2020 12:43 PM EST

Tending to quad issue

Coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday that Conner is dealing with a quadriceps injury, Teresa reports.

Analysis: A bout with COVID-19 forced Conner to sit out Weeks 12 and 13, and in his return to action this past Sunday in Buffalo he was second among Steelers running backs in offensive snap share (40 percent). Top honors went to Jaylen Samuels (47 percent), while Benny Snell (five percent) brought up the rear. Perhaps the combination of lingering effects of the illness along with the quad issue led to a poor showing for Conner, who eked out just 18 yards on his 10 carries and wasn't targeted. Tomlin noted all the injured Steelers likely will be limited early in the practice week, which begins for them Thursday with a Monday night game at Cincinnati on tap Week 15.

Dec 15, 2020 9:23 AM EST

1.8 YPC in ugly loss Sunday

Conner (reserve/COVID-19) returned to action and rushed 10 times for 18 yards in Sunday's 26-15 loss to the Bills.

Analysis: Conner was forced to miss the Steelers' last two contests, but he was finally cleared to resume team activities earlier this week. However, his fantasy managers may not have noticed that their running back returned to the field based on his anemic production. The Bills are no slouch on defense, so the rotten outing can be explained by a tough matchup and the extended layoff. Conner still saw the majority of backfield touches for Pittsburgh and will look to rebound against a Bengals run defense that is softer than fleece.

Dec 13, 2020 10:51 PM EST

Activated from COVID-19 list

Conner (illness) has been activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Analysis: With that, Conner is now on track to play Sunday against the Bills. His return to action will be a welcome one after the Washington Football Team held the Steelers' ground game to 21 yards on 14 carries in a 23-17 upset win this past Monday over previously-unbeaten Pittsburgh.

Dec 9, 2020 9:10 AM EST

Expected back Week 14

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday that he's optimistic Conner (illness) will be ready to return from the reserve/COVID-19 list prior to the team's Week 14 game against the Bills, Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL Network reports.

Analysis: Tomlin's comments suggest that Conner has been coming along in his recovery from COVID-19 since he tested positive for the coronavirus Nov. 28. Conner is first eligible to return from the list Wednesday, so if he clears all health-related protocols, the running back could be able to participate in the Steelers' first Week 14 practice. If he's ultimately active for the matchup with Buffalo, Conner would likely step back in as the Steelers' top running back after fill-in starter Benny Snell (eight carries for five yards, two receptions for five yards) struggled mightily in Monday's loss to Washington.

Dec 8, 2020 9:14 AM EST

Unlikely to return Monday

The Steelers can activate Conner (illness) from the reserve/COVID-19 list Monday, but he isn't expected to play in Monday's game against Washington, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.

Analysis: Conner was placed on the reserve list after testing positive for COVID-19 back on Nov. 28. The move set the stage for Benny Snell to lead the Steelers backfield this past Wednesday against the Ravens, resulting in 19 touches for 93 yards for the second-year back. Assuming Conner remains sidelined, Snell will earn another start.

Dec 6, 2020 7:21 AM EST

Officially placed on COVID-19 list

Conner was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Saturday, Mark Kaboly of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: It was reported earlier Saturday Conner had tested positive for COVID-19, but the team had yet to make an official designation. This news seems to suggest the running back will miss, at minimum, Tuesday's contest against the Ravens, although it's entirely possible the game could be delayed even further after both teams added new additions to their respective COVID-19 lists.

Nov 28, 2020 1:39 PM EST

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