Pitt to honor James Conner with bobblehead


In the return of Pitt’s retro uniforms last October, former running back James Conner helped the Panthers to a 37-34 victory over Georgia Tech with 60 rushing yards on 14 carries. (TPN File Photo)

By Ryan Zimba / Sports Editor

The Pitt athletic department announced Thursday there will be a James Conner bobblehead night to honor the former running back at the team’s Oct. 14 homecoming game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack.

The bobblehead — featuring Conner wearing Pitt’s throwback uniform — will be given out to each of the first 30,000 fans in attendance.

One of the Panthers most prolific players in recent years, Conner is near the top of the program’s record books in several statistical categories. He ranks second in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns while coming in at third in points scored.

Perhaps what he’s best known for though is his comeback from both an MCL tear and Hodgkins’ Lymphoma during the spring of 2016. During that time, his journey inspired many across the country and made him into a role-model athlete.

Last season, he regained the starting running back spot and rushed for 1092 yards and 16 touchdowns in 13 games. In December, he declared for the NFL Draft, leaving Pitt after four memorable years.

Conner went on to be selected in the third round of the draft, by none other than his hometown team, the Pittsburgh Steelers. He’s currently preparing for his rookie season at the team’s training camp with hopes of making an impact behind starter Le’Veon Bell.

The promotion is one of several the Pitt football program will have this fall, as the team looks to generate enthusiasm and increase attendance at Heinz Field. Other events include a Star Wars night on Thursday, Nov. 9, when the team takes on North Carolina, and a Jr. Panthers Day during the team’s Sept. 30 matchup with Rice.