Dan Connor
refer to caption
Connor in 2010 with the Carolina Panthers
Penn State Nittany Lions
Position:Defensive Analyst
Personal information
Born: (1985-11-02) November 2, 1985 (age 36)
Wallingford, Pennsylvania
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:241 lb (109 kg)
Career information
High school:Strath Haven
(Wallingford, Pennsylvania)
College:Penn State
NFL Draft:2008 / Round: 3 / Pick: 74
Career history
As a player:
As a coach:
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played:62
Total tackles:216
Forced fumbles:1
Fumble recoveries:1
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

Daniel Murphy Connor (born November 2, 1985) is an American football coach and a former linebacker in the National Football League for the Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants. He played college football at Penn State University, where he is currently a defensive analyst.

Early years

Connor was born in Wallingford, Pennsylvania. He attended Strath Haven High School, where he was a four-year starter and was rated the number one linebacker in the country. He was also named to the USA Today Top 25 Supreme Team.[1] He played in the 2004 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

As a junior, he rushed for over 1,500 yards and scored 29 touchdowns. On defense, he had more than 160 tackles to go along with 3 interceptions. As a senior, he rushed 231 times for 1,807 yards and 28 touchdowns, while making 141 tackles, 11 sacks and 3 interceptions.

Connor started in 59 straight games and helped the team achieve a 56–3 record. He finished his high school career with 461 tackles, 38 sacks, 19 interceptions, 591 carries for 4,556 yards and 77 rushing touchdowns. He also practiced basketball and track

College career

Connor attended Pennsylvania State University, where he played for coach Joe Paterno's Penn State Nittany Lions football team from 2004 to 2007. He earned All-America honors his junior and senior seasons at Penn State[2][3] and passed Nittany Lion great Paul Posluszny on November 3, 2007 to become first on Penn State's career tackles list.

Connor's game-high nine tackles along with an interception of a Colt Brennan pass in the 2008 Senior Bowl earned him the game's Under Armour Award—essentially the North team's MVP.[4][5]

Professional career


Connor's superlative college career led to his #23 ranking on Sports Illustrated's list of the top 25 2008 NFL Draft candidates.[6] He left the NFL Combine after getting sick.[7] He ran a 4.63 40-yard dash at his Pro Day. He also bench pressed 225 lbs 22 times and jumped 35" vertically.

Carolina Panthers (first stint)

Connor was selected by the Carolina Panthers in the third round (74th overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft.[8] Due to the Panthers' wealth of talent at linebacker, Connor played sparingly—mostly on special teams—in the first 3 weeks before a torn ACL suffered during a loss to the Minnesota Vikings ended his season.[9] On September 23, he was placed on the injured reserve list. He had 4 special teams tackles.

In 2009, he played mainly on special teams, collecting 14 special teams tackles (led the team), 19 defensive tackles, one quarterback pressure and one fumble recovery.

In 2010, despite reportedly fielding several trade inquiries during the offseason, the Panthers made it clear Connor would compete for a starting job that season after the team released veteran linebacker Na'il Diggs.[10] He competed for the strongside linebacker position with James Anderson, before he was named the starter at middle linebacker after Jon Beason was moved to weakside linebacker.[11] On November 9, he was placed on the injured reserve list with a fractured hip bone and Beason was moved back to middle linebacker.[12] Connor finished with 60 tackles, one sack, 4 quarterback pressures and one pass defensed.

In 2011, he took over the middle linebacker starter position in the second game after Beason was lost for the year with a torn left Achilles tendon.[13] He was inactive with a shoulder injury against the Detroit Lions. He registered 87 tackles (third on the team), one forced fumble and 3 special teams tackles.

Dallas Cowboys

On March 15, 2012, he was signed as a free agent by the Dallas Cowboys to play inside linebacker in the team's 3-4 defense and reuniting him with former Penn State teammate Sean Lee. He became a starter after Lee was lost for the year with a toe injury in the sixth game against the Carolina Panthers.[14] He missed 2 games with a neck injury and was replaced with Ernie Sims. He appeared in 14 games (8 starts), making 58 tackles (3 for loss) and one pass defensed.

On March 11, 2013, Connor was released by the Cowboys.[15]

New York Giants

On March 16, 2013, Connor signed with the New York Giants.[16] On September 12, he was placed on the injured reserve list with a neck injury and Mark Herzlich replaced him as the starter at middle linebacker.[17] On November 4, he was released with an injury settlement.

Carolina Panthers (second stint)

On November 13, 2013, he signed an undisclosed one-year deal to return to the Carolina Panthers.[18] He appeared in 5 games as a backup and was not re-signed after the season.

Coaching career

In September 2014, Connor was hired as linebacker coach at West Chester University under Bill Zwaan.[19] In January 2016, Connor accepted the head coaching position at Archbishop John Carroll High School in Radnor, Pennsylvania. In January 2018, Connor became the defensive coordinator at Widener University.[20]

In February 2022, Connor joined the staff at his alma mater, Penn State as a defensive analyst.[21]


  1. ^ "#40 Dan Connor". Penn State. Archived from the original on 2006-12-07. Retrieved 2007-07-10.
  2. ^ "Trio of Nittany Lions Earn All-America Honors From The Sporting News". Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics. 2006-12-14. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  3. ^ "Tebow, McFadden top All-America team". FoxSports.com. Archived from the original on 2007-12-13. Retrieved 2007-12-12.
  4. ^ "Penn State's Connor captures Senior Bowl Under Armour Award". The Phanatic Magazine. 2008-01-27. Retrieved 2008-01-28.
  5. ^ Fernandez, Bernard (2008-04-23). "Any team will do in NFL draft for Penn State linebacker Connor". Philadelphia Daily News. Archived from the original on July 24, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-25.
  6. ^ "Top 25 NFL Draft Candidates for 2008". SI.com. Retrieved 2007-08-14.
  7. ^ "The real top NFL draft prospects, post-combine". Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  8. ^ Sam Ross, Jr. "PSU's Connor picked by Panthers, WVU's Slaton picked by Texans". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Archived from the original on 2008-04-30. Retrieved 2008-04-27.
  9. ^ Schrager, Josh (2008-09-23). "Knee injury ends Connor's season". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on September 24, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-23.
  10. ^ Yasinskas, Pat (March 24, 2010). "Panthers turn down Connor trade talk". ESPN. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  11. ^ "Beason could move to Davis' spot". Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  12. ^ "Jon Beason re-ups with Panthers". Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  13. ^ "Jon Beason out for rest of season". Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  14. ^ "Dan Connor's 'heart breaks' for Sean Lee". Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  15. ^ Rosenthal, Gregg (March 11, 2013). "Dan Connor released on busy day for Dallas Cowboys". NFL.com. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  16. ^ "Giants add LB Dan Connor". Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  17. ^ "Dan Connor (neck) out for season". Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  18. ^ "Dan Connor returning to Carolina". ESPN. November 13, 2013. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  19. ^ "Dan Connor: From NFL to assistant's job at West Chester". The Philadelphia Inquirer. September 12, 2014. Retrieved January 7, 2016.
  20. ^ O'Brien, Rick (January 18, 2018). "Dan Connor leaves Archbishop Carroll football for Widener job". Philly.com. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  21. ^ Brennan, Mark (7 February 2022). "Penn State great Dan Connor among Franklin's three new football analysts". 247sports.com. 247Sports. Retrieved 8 February 2022.