(Photos courtesy of the Indianapolis Colts)
Talk of Fame Network
Edgerrin James is a semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall-of-Fame’s Class of 2016, which means he’s made the cut to the final 25. And while this is only his second year of eligibility, he not only believes he’ll eventually graduate to the next round but one day will make it to Canton
The reason? Simple: Because he belongs.
That was clear when The Talk of Fame Network interviewed the former star running back, with James addressing his Hall-of-Fame candidacy when he said, “when you break everything down and look at everything, you realize … you know what? … this guy deserves it.”
And he may.
He’s the 11th-all-time leading rusher, the 13th-ranked player with 15,610 yards from scrimmage and someone who was a key member of an Indianapolis Colts team that, along with New England, dominated the AFC in the 2000's. So he checked all the boxes, something he made clear when he offered his definition of what constitutes a Hall-of-Fame back.
“When you’re brought into the game and asked to play running back you’re asked to do three things … three major things,” he said. “And that’s to be able to run the ball, to be able to catch the ball and to be able to block. And nowadays, for some reason, they’re downplaying the significance of all the blocking that’s being done.
“And me? I took pride in doing all three things. I wasn’t a player who just in there to run the ball or catch the ball. I stayed out there to do the other part that’s not really highlighted. To be a Hall-of- Fame running back you’ve got to able to do all three of those things. And, also, off the field you’ve got to be able to carry yourself a certain way to represent the NFL. And that’s one thing I’ve always tried to do; to make sure I was aware of.”
James was so good that he twice led the league in rushing, was named to three All-Pro teams and four Pro Bowls, was the 1999 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and was chosen to the all-decade team of the 2000's. In short, he did just about everything.
“You have to look at the body of work,” he said. “You have to look at all three phases of the game. There were a lot of games where you had to make that tough block. When it comes to me you can’t just judge me off of running the ball. You have to look at how many snaps did I play; how often was I on the field. You have to look at all the blocking I did. I played in a one-back system where you didn’t have a fullback that’s going to lead the way and (where) the tight end is always going out as far as the passes.”