Magic of social media: Steelers' James Conner meets with cancer fighter after friend tweets to him

Shalise Manza Young
Yahoo Sports Columnist

Running back James Conner is missing his second straight game with a right shoulder injury so he won’t have an impact in Sunday’s game with the Cleveland Browns, but the Pittsburgh Steelers Pro Bowler made a massive impact before kickoff.

Tears and hugs

Before the game, Conner met with Rich and Rusty, best friends at Heinz Field for a boys’ weekend. Their trip is a bucket list type of thing, but according to Rusty’s Twitter feed, Rich has been diagnosed with a rare untreatable sarcoma, cancer that grows in bones and soft tissue.

Rusty went all out for the game, getting custom Conner jerseys that showed the feelings toward cancer in colorful language, as well as pregame passes and 100-level tickets.

He also tweeted to Conner, asking if he’d be willing to meet Rich.

Steelers running back and cancer survivor James Conner, left, signs the jersey of a fan fighting cancer. (Brooke Pryor/Twitter)

Why Conner? He was diagnosed with and beat stage 2 Hodgkin lymphoma while in college at Pitt, and played his senior season after undergoing a dozen chemo treatments. Just before the 2016 scouting combine Conner was told he was cancer-free, and the Steelers drafted him in the third round.

‘Please let me meet him!’

Conner responded to Rusty’s request with “please let me meet him!” and followed through on Sunday.

Via ESPN Steelers reporter Brooke Pryor, here’s the moment the two friends met Conner:

Yeah, it’s dusty in here too.

Conner signed Rich’s jersey, writing, “Rich! Keep going...Fcuk cancer!”

Pryor also tweeted the Rich was diagnosed about a year ago, and he’s a lifelong Steelers fan who was seeing his first game in Pittsburgh.

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