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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. He majored in communication at Pitt.
James Conner On December 4, 2015, Conner announced he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Despite this, he said “I choose to not fear cancer…I will play football again.” After tearing his MCL during the Panthers’ first game of 2015, Conner began attending rehab and began experiencing excessive fatigue and other symptoms, leading doctors to perform a chest X-Ray that revealed Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.He endured 12 rounds of chemotherapy and completed his last chemo appointment on May 9, 2016. During his treatment, Conner continued to participate in non-contact drills with the Pittsburgh Panthers football team as much as his body would allow.
Conner appeared on the April 21, 2016, episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show and met Kansas City Chiefs’ safety Eric Berry, who also overcame Hodgkin’s lymphoma and who Conner saw as an inspirational figure. During Conner’s treatment, both players would speak via text but had never met in person.