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RB James Conner agree to sign 1-year deal with Arizona Cardinals

RB James Conner agree to sign 1-year deal with Arizona Cardinals

James Conner’s first free-agent visit of the week proved to be his last.

Conner has agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals, the team reported Tuesday.

Conner visited Arizona on Monday, drawing his first public interest during free agency after spending his first four NFL seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Clearly, he was sold on what he saw and will joining a team in which he can occupy an important role in the Cardinals’ backfield as its bigger, bruising running back.

“I was looking forward to the change. There was no real desire to leave, but … certain people talk about being in their hometown and I just feel like this is an opportunity for me to grow, for me to be out here, to meet new people, to see this side of the world,” Conner said Tuesday in a virtual news gathering, through the Arizona Republic’s Bob McManaman. “It’s something new and so I was looking forward to that and I feel I will continue to grow.”

The former University of Pittsburgh star will share the load with smaller spell back Chase Edmonds in a unit quarterbacked by Kyler Murray and featured by players like DeAndre Hopkins and A.J. Green.

“I think Chase can do it all, and I believe I can do it all,” Conner said Tuesday of his expectations playing alongside Edmonds. “His decision-making, his speed, he runs hard too. He’s got that dawg mentality, just like I got. So we’re just gonna roll.”

Conner will be required to contribute from the outset, as Arizona has obviously shown it is in with no reservations for 2021.

That will, obviously, require being accessible. Conner’s greatest hurdle has been his own health in his career, playing in any event 10 games in every one of his four professional seasons, yet never more than 14. Following his Pro Bowl season of 2018, Conner couldn’t establish a rhythm in 2019 or 2020 while additionally running behind a declining Steelers offensive line.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport additionally revealed Monday that Conner underwent surgery to repair a turf-toe type injury this offseason. A full recovery is normal for Conner by June, Rapoport added.

Conner’s excursion west likewise mirrors that of former Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall, who spent his first five seasons in Pittsburgh prior to making a beeline for Arizona for a one-year stint with the Cardinals, which finished with his retirement in March 2014. While both have endured critical knee wounds in their careers, Conner’s is long behind him, and he seems to be better positioned to have an effect than Mendenhall – never similar after his January 2012 ACL tear – was when he moved west.

Conner gets a new beginning more than 1,000 miles from his home of western Pennsylvania, where he grew up, went to school and started his NFL profession. A difference in view may be good, particularly with a team that is relied upon to make clamor in 2021.

“I’m excited for this opportunity. It’s definitely a change of scenery,” Conner said. “I’ve been in Pittsburgh for eight years and I was learning so many lessons and that time in Pittsburgh was just prepping me for where I’m at right now in my life in this journey that brought me out here to A.Z.

“I’m excited for this opportunity. It’s definitely a change of scenery,” Conner said. “I’ve been in Pittsburgh for eight years and I was learning so many lessons and that time in Pittsburgh was just prepping me for where I’m at right now in my life in this journey that brought me out here to A.Z.

Topics #1-year deal #Arizona Cardinals #RB James Conner

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