Despite the departure of Le’Veon Bell, James Conner anticipates a more balanced workload in the backfield for the Steeler in 2019.
Speaking Wednesday at the team’s mandatory minicamp, the third-year running back said he expects the team to distribute touches around the locker room.
“I think it’ll be spread out pretty evenly,” Conner said, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Conner admitted he hopes it has to do with the team’s production last season and not the ankle injury that sidelined him the final three games at the end of last year.
“I’m durable,” Conner said. “I missed a couple games. No matter what shape you’re in or how your body is, that happens. You know that’s going to happen.”
But don’t be surprised if Steelers coach Mike Tomlin still chooses to err on the side of caution in order to keep Conner healthy, especially if other players at the position have proved they can handle the extra haul.
“James’ versatility and level of conditioning will be factors in that discussion,” Tomlin said. “We’re open to it. All people are working hard, but there are some other viable men. It’s just not a two-man discussion at the running back position. I’ve been pleased with the progress of the larger body.”
Conner compiled 973 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns through 13 games in 2018 as he took on a larger role in Bell’s absence during his contract holdout.
Meanwhile, fellow rusher Jaylen Samuels had 328 yards from scrimmage in the three games Conner missed. To add, fourth-round pick Benny Snell ran for 1,449 yards and 16 touchdowns at Kentucky last year.