Steelers running back and Pitt and McDowell alum James Conner has been named the 2018 Dapper Dan sportsman of the year by readers of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Conner, the Steelers’ second-year running back, wasn’t expected to be relied upon for a huge workload for the Steelers this year after being used sparingly as a rookie in 2017 before a knee injury prematurely ended his season.
But a season-long contract dispute between the Steelers and 2017 starter Le’Veon Bell forced Conner into a more prominent role. Conner started 11 games, and has thrived. He’s rushed for 909 yards and 12 touchdowns. He has also had 469 yards receiving and one receiving touchdown. He has missed the Steelers’ last three games with an ankle injury. Conner was also voted to his first NFL Pro Bowl this season, one of six Steelers selected.
Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke was named sportswoman of the year. The awards will be presented at the charity’s annual dinner on Wednesday, Feb. 20. Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and Robert Morris hockey forward Brittany Howard won the awards in 2017. Dapper Dan Charities was founded by former Post-Gazette editor Al Abrahams in 1936.