PITTSBURGH -- James Conner was catching up with an old friend when he hugged Eric Berry after last week's game, but he also appreciates the deeper meaning behind the embrace: Two cancer survivors celebrating another NFL Sunday together.
"We're just happy we're in the position we're in, to be able to inspire others and we're both thankful to continue playing the game we love," Conner said. "We're just thankful."
Conner overcame Hodgkin's Lymphoma in 2016 before playing another season at Pitt and getting drafted by the Steelers in the third round.
He had a blueprint of sorts in Berry, who beat lymphoma in 2015, worked his way back to elite form with the Chiefs and earned a $78 million extension in 2017.
Conner said Berry kept in touch with him during his cancer fight and calls him a "great dude, good person." Berry, a Pro Bowler, didn't play in Sunday's game because of an injury, while Conner has 257 total yards through two games as Le'Veon Bell's replacement.
"We share stories. We know exactly what it's like," Conner said of his relationship with Berry. "It just goes to show with a strong mindset you can still achieve your dreams. It's a mental fight. We have a tough task playing in the NFL. We just try to be an inspiration to others."