The man with the No. 1 selling NFL jersey in America is a player many fans have never even heard of. At least, not yet.
We're talking about James Conner, the former University of Pittsburgh standout who was drafted by the Steelers in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft. How did the 105th overall pick, a rookie destined to serve as Le'Veon Bell's understudy in a best-case scenario, suddenly become so popular? As you might guess, there's more to the story.
Conner was a standout running back for Pitt -- the 2014 ACC Player of the Year, in fact -- who saw his life and football dreams upended when he was diagnosed with cancer in 2015. He won a furious battle with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, got back on the field for Pitt and led the team in rushing in his final season with the Panthers before turning pro. When the Steelers called his phone this spring, it was a fairytale come true for the hometown kid from Erie.
Conner's Pennsylvania roots and inspirational story merged to make the rookie's jersey a hot property. How hot? Conner No. 30 is now moving more paper than Brady No. 12, according to at least one metric.
No one knows where Conner's NFL career will take him, but he'll always have this. A very cool story.