Cancer survivor James Conner won’t opt out

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Steelers running back James Conner is among the NFL players whose personal health histories raised questions about whether they would choose to opt out in 2020. But Conner is opting in.

Conner, who had Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2015, has decided to play this season, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

Patriots offensive tackle Marcus Cannon, who had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2011, is among the two dozen NFL players so far who have opted out of the 2020 season.

The NFL is allowing all players to opt out of the season and receive a stipend rather than their full salary, with those who are opting out because of a medical necessity receiving a larger stipend. Players who opt out of 2020 will have their contracts toll to 2021, and they will have to re-pay the stipend out of their 2021 salaries.

Conner led the Steelers in rushing last season and is expected to be their No. 1 running back again this season.

9 responses to “Cancer survivor James Conner won’t opt out

  1. RB’s have short careers. He earns $735K this year. Free agent after one more year of service.
    Tough call, but money-wise, I understand.

  2. RBs have such short careers. Conner’s best move here is to get to free agency as soon as possible, which means avoid a tolled year.

    As a matter of fact, that same argument applies to all players. How can they afford to give up a year of earnings as a professional athlete? Their careers are not being extended by a year.

    There is no guarantee they are even on a roster in a year from now. They can still be cut next offseason.

  3. Here is a guy who has a legit reason to bail on the season. Yet he acts like a grown man and fulfills his obligations. I wish him the best of health and hold those who voluntarily chickened out (without a medical job to fulfill) in contempt. There is one thing to be protective of oneself. It is another to be so selfish. Or to be exploited by your team for some ulterior motive.

  4. I have no problem with guys choosing not to play. It’s their health and their life. Just don’t give me the sanctimonious garbage. You have options. You choose to use your financial independence to protect yourself. End of story. be thankful that you are able to do so.

  5. Just because he HAD cancer doesn’t make him at a higher risk. It’s the treatment that makes ACTIVE cancer patients at a high risk. But whatever helps the hype machine…

  6. I’m sure it was a much easier decision for Marcus Cannon. He already got his veteran contract.

    Conner is a very likable guy. I hope this decision works out well for him.

  7. This is America you have that right to make that choice, I just hope it is the right one.

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