University of Pittsburgh running back James Conner was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma this week, as he announced yesterday. In a school press release, Conner said:

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“When I heard those words—`You have cancer’—I admit I was scared,” Conner said. “But after thinking about it for a bit, I realized that fear is a choice. I choose to not fear cancer. I choose to fight it and I will win.

Conner won the 2014 ACC Player of the Year award. He looked like he would have been an early-round pick in next year’s draft if he chose to leave school early, but he tore his MCL in the Panthers’ season opener against Youngstown State. Conner missed the rest of the year, but was honored by the American Football Coaches Association for his off-field work. He vowed to return to the sport, saying:

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“I will play football again. I will be at Heinz Field again. I have the best coaches and teammates in the country. I thank God I chose Pitt because now I also have the best doctors in the country and together we will win. I know this city has my back.”

Photo via AP