Edgerrin James Speaks at Pro Football Hall of Fame

CANTON (News Talk 1480 WHBC) – The first time Edgerrin James had the opportunity to live in Ohio, he politely declined. At that time, the 18 year old James was simply too set on the idea of him being a Miami Hurricane, rather than an Ohio State Buckeye.

However, despite him choosing to stick to his Florida roots, James said the goal was always to end his career in Ohio, just not in Columbus.

“From the first day I came to the NFL I said I wanted to be one of the best to ever play,” James said. “I’ve always watched what everyone has done, I’ve always monitored everything, I always knew exactly where I was at. So being in the Hall of Fame is something I have always expected.”

Every player’s journey to Canton is different. Like many other’s, James had one full of success and even a few low points. He claims it was those low points that helped him reach his full potential. Specially, the time he tore his ACL after dominating the game in his first two seasons as a pro.

“I had a conversation with Marshall Faulk, who told me that when you get hurt, you become a better player from a mental standpoint,” said James. “Now you have to have more strategy. I took that approach. I told myself that I had to learn more about the game.”

Thankfully, the guy James stood next to in the huddle was someone who knew quite a bit about football. He wore the number 18 and had the last name Manning. James spoke about how he used his time off the field to get closer with his quarterback, allowing become a better student of the game.

“It actually made me and Peyton’s relationship even better,” said James. “I was able to see what he was seeing. I would ask him ‘what do you see or what is going to make you change this call or what type of look will make you go from a run to a pass?’ Those things right there make your game go up to another level.”

James’ game did indeed go to, in his words, “another level.” He went on to earn two more All-Pro selections after returning from his ACL surgery. By the time he said goodbye to Manning and the Colts in 2005, he was the franchise’s leading rusher, a title he still holds today.

Although James will be enshrined this summer as a Colt, it should be noted that he did have success with his second NFL team, the Arizona Cardinals. The hall of fame back posted 1,000+ yard seasons on the ground in his first two years in Phoenix.

In his third and final season with the Cardinals, James helped them make the franchises’ only ever appearance in a Super Bowl, where they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers by a final of 27-23.