The Steelers are optimistic that Conner will clear the NFL's concussion protocol and suit up in the team's next game Nov. 18 against the Jaguars, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. Conner sustained a head injury in Thursday's 52-21 win over the Panthers, during which he piled up 65 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries and reeled in his lone target for eight yards. The lengthier turnaround between games should prove beneficial for Conner in his recovery from the concussion, as he'll have nine days to pass the five-step protocol rather than the typical six. Assuming he endures no setbacks and gains clearance to play, Conner should reprise his usual three-down duties for the Steelers, with the second-year back seemingly on track to hold that role for the remainder of the season. Per Adam Schefter of ESPN, Le'Veon Bell is unlikely to report to the Steelers by Tuesday's deadline, which would leave Pittsburgh's former lead back ineligible to play at any point in 2018.
Conner is being evaluated for a concussion in the fourth quarter of Thursday's game against the Panthers and is questionable to return. Conner had a slow game on the ground by his recent standards before exiting, logging 65 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries while adding one reception for eight yards. The rushing numbers still equate to five yards per carry, but it looks as if Conner's four-game 100-yard rushing streak will come to an end in Week 10. With Thursday's contest well out of hand in the fourth quarter, it is unlikely the Steelers will bring the second-year rusher back onto the field, even if he is cleared. Jaylen Samuels and Stevan Ridley figure to see an increased role for the rest of Thursday's blowout and possibly beyond if Conner is forced to miss game action. Pittsburgh will have 10 days to rest before taking on the Jaguars in Week 11.
Conner rushed 24 times for 107 yards while adding seven catches for 56 yards and a touchdown on nine targets in Sunday's 23-16 win over Baltimore. Conner got into the end zone on a seven-yard reception in the first quarter and ended up topping 100 yards on the ground for the fourth consecutive game. With Le'Veon Bell still yet to report due to a contract dispute, the Steelers have had no problem giving Conner all the work he can handle, much to the delight of his fantasy owners. Pittsburgh will be right back in action Thursday, so it's unlikely Bell reports by the time the Panthers come to town in Week 10.
Conner is once again expected to serve as Pittsburgh's lead back Sunday in Baltimore after Le'Veon Bell (contract dispute) failed to report to the team Wednesday for its first practice of Week 9, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. There was some thought that Bell might rejoin the Steelers this week after he stayed put in Pittsburgh following Tuesday's trade deadline, but it appears the 26-year-old's prolonged holdout will extend through at least one more game. Given that Bell can still become a free agent this offseason if he reports to the team prior to Week 11, there's a good chance he'll also remain away from the team for its Thursday night game against the Panthers in Week 10. Conner has taken full advantage of Bell's absence through Pittsburgh's first seven contests, averaging 4.7 yards per carry and hauling in 31 receptions while reaching the end zone nine times. That exceptional production could be enough for Conner to keep the top backfield job even once Bell returns, especially with the Steelers seemingly on course to part ways with the disgruntled three-time Pro Bowler after the season.
Conner is expected to remain the Steelers' lead back Sunday against the Bengals with Le'Veon Bell (contract dispute) not planning to report to the team this week, Jim Trotter of NFL.com reports. There had previously been whispers that Bell was planning on rejoining the team during its Week 7 bye, but that never came to pass. Bell remained absent from the squad when it reconvened Monday and looks like he could continue his holdout through the Oct. 30 trade deadline, if not longer. However long Bell is out of the Steelers' backfield mix, Conner should make for a strong lineup option across all leagues, as he entered the bye week ranked among the NFL's top five in both rushing yards (453) and rushing touchdowns (seven). Conner turned in arguably his best outing of the season against this same Cleveland squad in Week 1, racking up 192 yards from scrimmage on 36 touches (31 carries, five receptions) while finding paydirt twice.
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