Former Colt Edgerrin James semifinalist for Pro Football Hall of Fame

Edgerrin James #32 of the Indianapolis Colts resting on the bench during a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on November 9, 2003 at the Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sporting News via Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Edgerrin James was a relentless and record-setting running back with the Indianapolis Colts.

Now, he’s relentless in his pursuit of a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The Colts’ career rushing leader and one of the most productive running backs in NFL history is one of 27 modern-day semifinalists for the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018 which was announced Tuesday evening.

James is in his fourth year of eligibility, and has reached the semifinal stage each year. He was one of the final 15 modern-day nominees for the Class of 2016.

The list of semifinalists was reduced from an initial list of 108 nominees by the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee (I am one of the voting members). The 15 modern-day finalists will be announced Jan. 2 while the selection committee will determine the Class of 2018 Feb. 3 in Minneapolis, the day before Super Bowl LII.

James was the Colts’ first-round draft pick in 1999 (4th overall) who rushed for a record 9,226 yards during his seven-year career. He led the NFL in rushing his first two seasons and was headed for a third straight rushing title before suffering a season-ending knee injury at Kansas City in the sixth game of the 2001 season.

James’ 11-year NFL career included stints with Arizona and Seattle and ended when he retired after the 2009 season. He ranks 12th in league history with 12,246 rushing yards and 14th with 15,610 total yards from scrimmage.

Of the 11 players ahead of James on the all-time rushing list, 10 already have busts in Canton, Ohio. The exception is Colts’ running back Frank Gore, who’s still active and perched at No. 7.

The list of 27 semifinals (* – denotes first year of eligibility):

  • Running backs: Edgerrin James, Roger Craig.
  • Wide receivers: Terrell Owens, Randy Moss*, Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt, Hines Ward.
  • Offensive linemen: T Tony Boselli, G Alan Faneca, G Steve Hutchinson, T Joe Jacoby, C/G Kevin Mawae.
  • Defensive linemen: E Leslie O’Neal, E Simeon Rice, E/T Richard Seymour*.
  • Linebackers: Ray Lewis*, Brian Urlacher*, Karl Mecklenberg.
  • Defensive backs: S Steve Atwater, CB/S Ronde Barber*, S LeRoy Butler, S Brian Dawkins, CB Ty Law, S John Lynch, CB Everson Walls.
  • Coaches: Jimmy Johnson, Don Coryell.

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