Pitt tailback James Conner diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma

Pittsburgh running back James Conner announced Friday he has Hodgkin's lymphoma. He was diagnosed with the disease this week.

"When I heard those words -- 'You have cancer' -- I admit I was scared," Conner said in a school release. "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.

"One year ago today I was asking myself, 'Why me?' Why was I the lucky one to be getting the ACC Player of the Year award when I had so many teammates who deserved it as much as me? Now one year later, instead of asking, 'Why me?' I am saying, 'Why not me?' I can beat cancer."

Conner, who was diagnosed with stage 2 lymphoma, only played in one game this season before tearing the MCL in his right knee against Youngstown State, ending his junior campaign. As a sophomore, he led the ACC and was sixth in the nation with 1,765 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns.

Conner said he plans to return to Pitt for his senior season after beating out his cancer, which his doctors say is 85-90 percent curable.

Last year, Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry was diagnosed with lymphoma and missed five games. He returned this season and hasn't missed a game. Conner said Friday he wants to use Berry as inspiration for his recovery.

"I know there are so many people in the world who were told by their doctors this week that they also have cancer," Conner said. "I want them to know that together we can -- and will -- beat cancer."

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