James Conner earned his first Pro Bowl selection, but Aaron Donald already expected it.
Following the NFL announcement Tuesday, the Steelers’ second-year running back shared an inspirational text he received from Donald after being diagnosed with cancer in November 2015.
The Rams defensive tackle, who earned his fifth straight selection, had predicted Conner would beat the disease and go on to reach the Pro Bowl.
Donald has kept tabs on Conner since college, when the two played a season together at Pittsburgh in 2013. Donald went on to be selected with the No. 13 pick in the 2014 draft, while Conner was picked in the third round in 2017 after making his return one year earlier. He had missed most of the 2015 season while undergoing treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Conner has had a breakout season in place of holdout Le’Veon Bell, rushing for 909 yards and 12 touchdowns in 12 games while also catching 52 balls for 467 yards and a score.
The 23-year-old’s status for Sunday’s showdown at New Orleans has yet to be determined as he continues to deal with an ankle injury suffered in Week 13 against the Chargers.