Things will be business as usual for James Conner in 2019.
While speaking Monday on “NFL Total Access,” the Steelers running back said he anticipates assuming a comparable workload to the one he carried for the team in 2018 before missing the final three games of the regular season with an ankle injury.
“I’ll have a similar role. I’m healthy, first and foremost, I’m 100% healthy now. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there,” Conner said. “But we got talent in that room. We got Jaylen Samuels who’s a tremendous receiver, a talented runner. We got Benny Snell. We know the work that he did at Kentucky. He’s a hard-bodied runner, so all those guys will get touches. It’ll be fun this year just seeing those other guys being successful.”
Conner noted that nothing definite has been determined and things are subject to change when training camp opens later this month.
“It goes week to week. The game plan will be different each week,” he said. “I know I’ll be a big part of it and have a big role. As far as specifics, we don’t play it like that.”
Conner compiled 973 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns over 13 games in 2018 as he took on a larger role in the absence of fellow running back Le’Veon Bell during his contract holdout. Bell eventually signed with the Jets in March, but not before star wide receiver Antonio Brown was traded to the Raiders just days earlier.
Despite two-thirds of the “Killer B” gone, Conner is optimistic about the direction the team is heading in.
“It’s early. All we had was OTAs, but OTAs were going smooth, the offense was clicking,” Conner said. “All our top guys were there. We’ll see. I think we’re going to be just fine. No diss to those guys. It’s been awesome, though, playing for each other.”
The Steelers are scheduled to open training camp July 25 at Saint Vincent College, with the first practice in pads slated for July 28.