Ben Roethlisberger

Cancer behind him, Conner just another rookie with Steelers

The catharsis came inside a crowded restaurant on that raucous Friday night in late April when James Conner picked up the phone and Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was on the other end telling Conner he was about to be selected in the third round of the NFL draft.

That's when the tears came. That's when Conner took a deep breath and celebrated the final steps in his draining journey from marginal college prospect to record-setting running back to cancer patient to the highest level of his chosen profession.

There were no tears when Conner arrived at Saint Vincent College on Thursday to start training camp. No moment in the dorm room he's sharing with second-round...