College Football Superstar Won't Let Cancer Stop Him — Now, Ellen Surprises Him With His Ultimate NFL Inspiration

"Everything's going to work out for the best, I believe it."

James Conner was at the top of his college football game when he was diagnosed with cancer.

Conner, a running back for the Pittsburgh Panthers and an ACC Player of the Year, says that upon entering his junior year at the University of Pittsburgh, he dreamt of winning a championship, winning the Heisman Trophy and making it to the NFL. 

"But things took a different turn," he says, speaking in a pre-recorded video to introduce his appearance on The Ellen Show.

In December 2015, Conner announced he'd be diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. But as he explains in the video for Ellen, he refuses to let his diagnosis stop him — getting chemotherapy treatments one day, running drills and working out in practice the next. 

And his strength has become an inspiration for all those around him.

"He has cancer and he wants to work out — I gots [sic] to work out. You see that, I mean, how could you not want to come out here and just keep fighting?" Rachid Ibrahim, Pitt running back says in the video. "You see your brother's fighting for his life."


"Everything's going to work out for the best, I believe it."

Moreover, Conner says that he's been inspired by Eric Berry, a safety for the Kansas City Chiefs, who received the same diagnosis during his career. But Berry fought through it and made it back to the field.

Now, in true DeGeneres fashion, the talk show host welcomed Berry onto the stage to surprise Conner during their interview.

"Never limit yourself. Anything that you're going through, you're really battling yourself ... It's all about what you're willing to put in to overcome whatever the obstacle is," Berry says.

Conner emphasizes that his goals and dreams are still the ones he had prior to cancer: "Everything's going to work out for the best, I believe it." 

We believe it, too. 

Be sure to watch the full video below for more:


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