INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Edgerrin James once again is knocking on the door at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
The Indianapolis Colts’ career rushing leader and one of the most productive running backs in NFL history is one of 15 modern-day finalists for the Class of 2018. The announcement was made Tuesday evening.
It marks the second time James, in his fourth year of eligibility, has been a finalist. He also was among the final 15 two years ago.
The Class of 2018 will be determined Feb. 3, the day before Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis. (I am one of the 48 members of the Selection Committee).
The possibility of one day being inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame is “one of those things you set out to do,’’ James told Indy Sports Central. “It kind of caps off your career.
“But I’m not going to do all that politicking and go public and beg. I think I did my job when I played. I did things my way. I never changed. I stayed true to myself.’’
James was a relentless force for the Colts during his seven-year career. The team’s 1999 first-round draft pick led the NFL in rushing in his first two seasons and set club rushing records for yards in a career (9,226), a season (1,709) and a game (219). He also holds the record for total yards from scrimmage in a season (2,303). He was a four-time Pro Bowl selection and was selected All Pro in ’99.
James compiled his impressive Colts-related resume despite suffering a season-ending knee injury at Kansas City during the sixth game of the 2000 season.
During his 11-year career – he also played for the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks – James piled up 12,246 rushing yards, 13th-most in NFL history.
Of the 12 running backs ahead of James on the all-time rushing list, 10 already are in the Hall of Fame. The outliers are still active: Colts running back Frank Gore and Adrian Peterson.
While not interesting in “politicking,’’ James nonetheless believes he belongs in Canton.
“Oh, yeah,’’ he said. “If I sit back and look at it, I think it’s plain as day. It’s a no-brainer.
“You’re talking about a true running back that did it all. “When you say, ‘What is a running back? What are his responsibilities? Did he do it all at a high level?’ I did every one of those.’’
James is trying to become the latest Colt to have his bronze bust featured in Canton. Marvin Harrison and Tony Dungy were inducted as part of the Class of 2016 while Bill Polian was in the Class of 2015. Marshall Faulk was a member of the Class of 2011 and Eric Dickerson the Class of 1999.
Gore is one of James’ staunchest supporters.
“Hell yes, Edge should get in,’’ he said. “Shoot, led the league as a rookie. Shoot, 1,500 yards consecutive times. Catching the ball. Playoff games, big games. Played in the Super Bowl. He just didn’t get the (championship) ring.
“But shoot, 12,000 yards? And he’s from the ‘U.’ Miami Hurricane. He should be in there. Why not him?’’
The other 14 modern-day finalist: wide receivers Terrell Owens, Randy Moss and Isaac Bruce; linebackers Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher; offensive tackles Tony Boselli and Joe Jacoby; guards Alan Faneca and Steve Hutchinson; center Kevin Mawae, cornerbacks Ty Law and Everson Walls; and safeties John Lynch and Brian Dawkins.
Moss, Lewis, Urlacher and Hutchinson are in their first year of eligibility.
Joining the 15 modern-day finalists in consideration for the Class of 2018 is Bobby Beathard as a contributor and linebacker Robert Brazile and guard Jerry Kramer as senior candidates.