Edgerrin James

Edgerrin James' nephew Jeff James Jr., being chased by Miami

The University of Miami may not have a permanent head football coach, but that isn’t holding the Hurricanes back from extending an offer to a relative of a Miami legend.

As reported by the Orlando Sentinel, Jeff James Jr., the nephew of legendary running back Edgerrin James, was handed a scholarship offer by the Hurricanes. James Jr. is senior defensive back and wide receiver at Olympia High in Florida, but has largely flown under the radar of most top programs. Of course, there’s a good reason why: He didn’t play high school football before his senior season.

That’s right. Miami is chasing — and it sure sounds like it might land — a player who didn’t compete in his first three high school years. Despite his relative inexperience, he excelled on the field, grabbing nine interceptions and racking up more than 1,000 all purpose yards, not to mention five touchdowns.

“I surprised myself a lot. I knew I could be good, but I didn’t know I was going to be this good,” James told the Sentinel. “I’m a sleeper. I’m a late bloomer.”

James Jr. knows that he’s caught lightning in a bottle just in time. He told the Sentinel that he was a classic “problem child”, but insisted he has been straightened out in part by his uncle, who has played a significant role in his life.

“A short while after I broke my collar bone, I was like, ‘I gotta really do this. I gotta play football. It’s the only way out for me,’ ” James told the Sentinel. “My situation was good, but I was trying to make it better. I had to keep working and keep doing the right things. …

“He’s been to all of my games and he’s always keeping me on the right page, gives me good advice,” James Jr. said. “He just talks to me a lot and tells me I gotta get things right, like when I wasn’t doing things right. It helps knowing he’s been there before.”

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Edgerrin James says Michael Vick bests Peyton Manning, talks charity work

Edgerrin James was once one of the most feared running backs in the National Football League (NFL). Drafted fourth overall in the 1999 NFL Draft out of the University of Miami, James was expected to join second-year pro Peyton Manning in hopes of making an immediate impact and turning the Indianapolis Colts around, and that’s exactly what he did. James led the NFL in rushing his first two seasons as a pro, won Offensive Rookie of the Year, and set numerous NFL records throughout his career that still stand today. Rolling out spoke exclusively with the future Hall of Famer about some of his contemporaries, his charity work, and more.

“I’ve always been into dealing with the kids,” James says about his charity work, which he began officially in 2000 when he formed The Edgerrin James Foundation Inc. The foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was “created to improve the decision-making process of youth and young adults, enhancing the quality of their lives, and empowering them to make positive contributions to society through sports training and health-related programs.”

James displays his commitment to giving back to the community the same way he showed greatness on the football field, with his actions. He has hosted eight-week summer camps for 15 consecutive years free of charge. “I spend the entire summer with the kids, my kids included,” said the father of six. “The summertime is when you have the biggest impact.”

James has had a big impact on the college football program he played for, as well. In 2000, not even a year removed from the NFL Draft he was selected in, James donated $250K to the University of Miami athletic department. The university then announced that it would name the main team meeting room in his honor, so that it would be a constant reminder to student-athletes of his impact on the school, on and off the field. When we discussed this with James, he said proudly, “That’s where all of the big meeting are held for the football team and sports in general.” James wanted to give back. “I always wanted to do something for the school to show my appreciation and also to do something for the people that come after me,” he said. ”Without the University of Miami I wouldn’t have the opportunity to play football in the NFL.”

Speaking of the NFL, we spoke to James about some of his contemporaries, including a former teammate that can often be seen in DIRECTV and Papa John’s commercials. “He is always going to be successful when it comes to playing the game,” he says of his former teammate Peyton Manning. And though Manning is older, he is also wiser on the football field. “He understands the game better than everyone else. The game is so mental that anything you lack from a physical aspect you can mask it with the mental.” James applauded his many years of dedication to preparation, something he was able to see firsthand for the first eight seasons of his career.

We also asked James about another NFL quarterback nearing the end of his career, Michael Vick, who made his first start for the Pittsburgh Steelers last week. “Ben Roethlisberger always extended the play and Michael Vick has the ability to extend the play. The ability to extend the play and the running game works in his favor,” he says. James also called Vick’s talent, particularly at the beginning of his career, a gift and a curse. “In the early years, if he didn’t see it down the field, he could take off and run,” he says. Then James peered into an alternate reality, comparing Vick and Peyton, pondering, “Imagine if Michael Vick spent a lot of time preparing.” He added that Vick is a “raw athlete” with a lot more physical talent than Manning.

In 2012, James was inducted into the Indianapolis Colts Ring of Honor, and shared his thoughts on the recognition. “It was a great experience; it’s on your football bucket list.” He continued, “I’m one of the guys that made an impact on that organization.”

Though he was not inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 2015, James, 11th on the NFL All-Time Rushing List, should eventually get in, and he is confident that will happen. He says, “If you look at my accomplishments, there is no doubt I should get in.”

What are James’ days like now? He reveals, “It’s the perfect life. It’s the perfect life that many people would dream of if you make the right decisions.”

James’ oldest child began her freshman year at Howard University last month. He wants his children to give back the way that he does. He says, “I have my daughter who is at Howard University … It’s a big deal that [my children] actually become successful, get their degrees, become entrepreneurs, and make a difference in this world.” James has set a great example for them.

If you check out James on social media, you see him posing with some of the biggest stars in the world of sports and entertainment, like Floyd Mayweather and Shaquille O’Neal. You also see him with the youth. All are fans of the running back who had the possibility of scoring a touchdown any time he touched the football, something he did 91 times during his career.

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FOUR #proCane #NFL #HOF 2016 Nominees

On Wednesday night, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced 108 modern-era nominees for the Class of 2016.

FOUR #proCanes were names #NFL #HOF 2016 Nominees: QB Vinny Testaverde & RBs OJ Anderson, Edgerrin James & Clinton Portis.

SIX #proCanes already are in #Canton. Michael Irvin, Cortez Kennedy, Ted Hendricks, Warren Sapp, Jim Kelly and Jim Otto.

*Finalist in 2015; CAPS indicate first year of eligibility

Drew Bledsoe, BRETT FAVRE, Steve McNair, Phil Simms, Vinny Testaverde, *Kurt Warner

Shaun Alexander, Ottis Anderson, Tiki Barber, Roger Craig, Stephen Davis, *Terrell Davis, Eddie George, Priest Holmes, Edgerrin James, Daryl Johnston, Jamal Lewis, CLINTON PORTIS, Herschel Walker (also KR), Ricky Watters, BRIAN WESTBROOK

Isaac Bruce, Gary Clark, Henry Ellard (also PR), *Marvin Harrison, Torry Holt, TERRELL OWENS, Sterling Sharpe, Jimmy Smith, Rod Smith

Mark Bavaro, Jay Novacek

Tony Boselli (T), Jeff Bostic (C), Jim Covert (T), ALAN FANECA (G), Jay Hilgenberg (C), Chris Hinton (G/T), Kent Hull (C), Joe Jacoby (T), Jon Jansen (T), Mike Kenn (T), Jim Lachey (T), Kevin Mawae (C/G), Mark May (G/T/C), Tom Nalen (C), Nate Newton (G), *Orlando Pace (T), Chris Samuels (T), Mark Schlereth (G), Steve Wisniewski (G)

Dexter Manley (DE), Charles Mann (DE), Leslie O'Neal (DE), Simeon Rice (DE), Fred Smerlas (NT), Bryant Young (DT)

Cornelius Bennett, Tedy Bruschi, KEITH BULLUCK, *Kevin Greene (also DE), Ken Harvey, Levon Kirkland, Clay Matthews, Willie McGinest (also DE), Karl Mecklenburg, Matt Millen, Sam Mills, Zach Thomas, MIKE VRABEL

Eric Allen (CB), Steve Atwater (S), Joey Browner (S), LeRoy Butler (S), Rodney Harrison (S), Ty Law (CB), Albert Lewis (CB), *John Lynch (S), LAWYER MILLOY (SS), DARREN SHARPER (FS), Shawn Springs (CB), Troy Vincent (CB/S), Everson Walls (CB), Darren Woodson (S)

*Morten Andersen (K), Gary Anderson (K), JOHN CARNEY (K), Jason Elam (K), Sean Landeta (P), Nick Lowery (K)

ETHAN ALBRIGHT (LS), Brian Mitchell (KR/PR also RB), Steve Tasker (also WR)

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Edgerrin James Delivering Hope At Youth Camp

In the six years since former Immokalee High and NFL star Edgerrin James began holding free one-day football camps in Collier County, he’s tried to deliver one over-arching message.


“I think you're supposed to come back to that area,” James said of giving back to his community. “Everyone has their own reasons why, but I think it's important to show the kids that it's possible to make it. They walk the same streets we walk and they've done things that we've done.”

The former Indianapolis Colts, Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks running back started holding free camps in 2009 in Immokalee, then moved the site to Ave Maria in 2012. In that time, James, who also runs the Edgerrin James Foundation & Charities Inc., has welcomed athletes from different parts of the state, including Orlando, Miami and Tampa.

Approximately 608 campers were in attendance Monday, program director Yhonsha Rue said, including almost 30 girls. That was nearly 100 more than in 2014 (525) and 200 more than 2013 (400). Rue said the non-profit Laces of Love also donated 300 pairs of cleats to underprivileged kids.

“All of my roots are from Immokalee,” said James, who lives in Orlando for most of the year with his family, though he has a house in Naples. “So it's very important to come back to Immokalee. What better time than right before football season?

“Anytime I have an opportunity to go back, even check out the games —even Immokalee, Naples, Fort Myers — I always pop in. I enjoy watching the sport. It gives me a chance to be a fan, he said.”

Almost 70 players from Immokalee High were on hand. It would have been more, Indians head coach Dale More said, but due to a scheduling conflict the varsity team members attended a Fellowship of Christian Athletes camp.

More was appreciative of the work James put in and hopes he would consider being a part of the Indians program moving forward.

“I wanted him to be a part of our program,” More said. “He's a (important) figure in our community. I think the kids are excited to see him. When they see him walk around they say, ‘That's where I want to be some day.’

“And that's what I enjoy so much about our practices. Our kids give 110 percent effort every single day, every single practice, because they have someone to look up to like Edgerrin that they want to be someday.”

And someday soon Hall-of-Famer may be added to James’ dossier. The NFL’s No. 11 all-time on the NFL rusher with 12,246 yards was not selected in his first year of eligibility in 2014. On the plus side, nine of the 10 players in front of him are in the Hall of Fame — LaDainian Tomlinson being the outlier.

“My numbers are there,” said James, who also scored 80 touchdowns in his 11-year career. “Everything speaks for itself. Those numbers, you compare it to people who are already in. It's a matter of wins. It's a process they have to go through and once the process plays itself out, you can't deny what I've done and what I've accomplished.”

But before that even happens, it was about moments like Monday in his hometown. In his first camp, he saw players like Immokalee’s D’Ernest Johnson strut their stuff. This past season, Johnson finished his first season at the University of South Florida.

“It feels good,” James said of the success he sees from the camp. “Them being from Immokalee and knowing them from a youth stage. I watched them when they were playing Pop Warner football and watching them grow up and turn into men. And now they call me now and then when they want me to know anything. It was actually fun. It's a good feeling.”

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Edgerrin James provides life lessons, free gear at free youth camp

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Edgerrin James' annual free youth football camp in Ave Maria - TODAY

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Edgerrin James Football Camp

The Edgerrin James "Speed& Agility" Youth Football Camp will be held again this year in Ave Maria Monday, July 20, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The camp, run by former NFL running back Edgerrin James – an Immokalee native – is designed to accommodate football enthusiasts of all levels. It is a free program providing a full day of football skills enhancement for beginners, to seasoned athletes.

Instructors include some of the best athletes from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), National Football League (NFL), and elite members of the NFL's coaching staff. Youth participants, between the ages of 6-18, are provided an opportunity and experience that will last a lifetime.

Advance registration is required, and can be done online at http://bit.do/EJFCYouthFootball.

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Edgerrin James on Phillip Dorsett: "He's Going to Be Unbelievable"

A number of former Miami players are gathering together to play for the Colts this season, and that has prompted some to label it the "reUnion."  Running back Frank Gore and wide receiver Andre Johnson both signed with the Colts as free agents, joining a roster that already included tight end Erik Swoope and a coaching staff that has Chuck Pagano and Rob Chudzinski, and then in the first round of the draft the Colts selected wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, also from Miami.

Former Miami players at the Colts' skill offensive positions is not a new thing, however.  For much of the last decade and a half, a former Miami player had a major impact on the Colts' high-powered offense, whether it was running back Edgerrin James or wide receiver Reggie Wayne.  Because of the culture at "the U," Dorsett became familiar with seeing Johnson, Gore, Wayne, or James in the weight room as he was working out, and Edge even texted him when the receiver was drafted by the Colts.

Edge recently talked with FOX59's Mike Chappell about Phillip Dorsett, and the former Colts star had high praise.  "I don't think he's scratched the surface of his talent,'' James told Chappell. "I tell him once he gets in that real good offense and he gets to playing, man, he's going to be unbelievable.  He works hard.  He does it the right way.  He's a good kid.  He has a love for the game.  You're not going to have to worry about him.  Trust me on that.  And Andre is going to mentor him.''

For Colts fans who fondly remember the Edgerrin James days, that's good to hear him say such things about Dorsett.  It's also nice to know that, while Dorsett could get great advice from the likes of Gore, Johnson, Wayne, James, or others at Miami, he now has even easier access to that advice in the Colts' locker room.  The team has a number of veteran leaders (including former Miami players) who should be able to help Dorsett adjust to the NFL and excel, and the team has a star quarterback in place to help Dorsett reach his potential.

There were a number of Colts fans who were unhappy with the pick, and that's understandable.  But Phillip Dorsett is a Colt, and he's a very fast and talented player who should help the team.  And if Edgerrin James is a fan and thinks that Dorsett is just scratching the surface of his potential, that should certainly help to inspire confidence from fans.

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proCane Pro Day Recap

In front of reps from all 32 NFL teams, the unquestioned star was receiver Phillip Dorsett. He blazed his way to an unofficial 4.25-second 40-yard dash after running an already-excellent 4.33 at the NFL combine in February. He could have settled on that time and simply performed pass-catching drills for NFL scouts, but Dorsett wanted to put on a show.

“It was just me and my competitive spirit just coming out here and doing everything,” Dorsett said. “Because I know everybody wants to see it. Everybody likes to see a guy go out and compete and do everything.”

Dorsett, who measured in at 5-foot-10 and 184 pounds, said he improved his vertical to 38 inches (he leaped 37 at the combine) and bench-pressed 225 pounds 13 times (he did not lift at the combine).

For me, the star of the day was Phillip Dorsett,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said. “A kid who didn’t have to do anything because he performed so well at the combine. What did he do today? Comes out runs a 4.25, 4.26, jumps 38 inches, 10-9 broad [jump], and then looked fantastic catching the football and getting in and out of breaks. I thought Phillip Dorsett had an outstanding day.”

Dorsett will work out for the Dolphins, Panthers and Falcons. What if the hometown chose him?

“Being a Hurricane and I always was a fan of the Dolphins, too,” said Dorsett, from Fort Lauderdale-St. Thomas Aquinas. “It would be great. It would be a dream come true,” he said.

* Linebacker Denzel Perryman suffered a pulled right hamstring and scratched on his second attempt at running the 40-yard dash. UM did not release official testing results to the media, but according to a group of scouts that got together and compared times, Perryman’s first heat in the 40 was a 4.67 — better than the 4.78 he ran in Indianapolis.

He did not perform in the shuttle, 3-cone and positional drills. He said not being able to finish was “real disappointing, but I think a lot of teams just wanted to see what I could run. I feel I accomplished that today. I answered a lot of questions.”

He said he measured in at 5-11 and 239 pounds and put up 30 reps of 225 pounds. He increased his vertical from 32 (combine) to 33 inches.

Perryman watched film with the Lions hours before pro day began and has three NFL team visits lined up: he will meet with the Dolphins next Thursday, the Falcons on April 12 and the Panthers on April 16. Along with Clive Walford and Dorsett, he ate dinner with Saints brass Tuesday night at Fleming’s Steakhouse in Coral Gables. Perryman said he ate shrimp and scallops (Rob Ryan had a steak, if you were wondering).

* Running back Duke Johnson ran a 4.47 twice, which was a much better result than his combine time (4.54). He also “caught the ball naturally,” according to Mayock.

Why run the 40 again? “I wanted to do it for myself, because I know I can do better, and I know I train too hard to run what I ran at the combine,” he said, adding that his “game speed speaks for itself. … If you run 4.2, 4.3 but you don’t play it, it really doesn’t make a difference.”

Dolphins GM Dennis Hickey agreed.

“When we watch guys play with helmets and shoulder pads, those are the important things,” he said. “Those guys that play fast and also run fast, that’s great. The importance is the speed they play at.” The 40 time is “a measurement — you always judge it against how they play.”

Johnson, who measured in at 5-9 and 203 pounds, said he did 18 reps of 225. He did not lift at the NFL combine.

Tight end Clive Walford did not run because he suffered a hamstring pull last week. Walford (6-4, 250) said he would meet with the Steelers after pro day and the Falcons and Packers in the coming days. He said he has talked to a laundry list of teams, including the Dolphins, Saints, Falcons, Packers, Broncos, Chargers, 49ers, Ravens, Chiefs and Buccaneers.

Walford, a Glades Central grad and South Bay native, on the hometown team: “I talked to them. I wouldn’t say a lot, but I saw that move that they made this offseason. Shout-out to the Dolphins.” He’s talking, of course, about the Fins adding Ndamukong Suh.

Is UM’s tight end tradition helping his draft stock? “We produce great tight ends,” he said. “Look at the history. We’ve got great ones to come. I feel I kept up that legacy. Hopefully the young ones do as well.

* Offensive tackle Ereck Flowers, a projected first-rounder, did not perform lifting drills – he was the top overall bench-presser at the NFL combine, with 37 reps of 225 – but did everything else. Flowers did not speak to the media (he rarely does).

Mayock was very high on Flowers, Jon Feliciano and Shane McDermott‘s performances.

“I counted eight to 10 offensive line coaches, obviously here to see mostly Ereck Flowers, who I think is going to be a first-round draft pick,” he said. “But Feliciano could get drafted. Shane McDermott could get drafted. I thought it was a great day for that whole group of players.”

* Defensive end Anthony Chickillo, who looked even lighter than he did at the combine (when he measured 6-3, 267), looked like a much more explosive player than he was as a 280-pound strong-side defensive end at UM. “Very twitchy” was Walford’s assessment. “Quick. Fast.”

* Quarterbacks Ryan Williams and Jake Heaps threw a variety of routes for scouts. Williams said he checked in at 6-4 and change and 215 pounds, and ran a 4.84 in the 40. Before tearing his ACL last April 4 – 362 days ago – he said he ran in the 5-second range. He definitely looked a lot faster than before. He has several meetings scheduled, but has not worked out with an NFL team.

“I’m always positive,” Williams said. “Regardless if I get drafted or not I’m still going to get a chance somewhere so I’m not really worried about the draft.”

* Cornerback Ladarius Gunter ran a solid 4.56 time in the 40 and looked very rangy in coverage drills.  He’s projected as a mid-round pick.

* Linebacker Thurston Armbrister showed good speed and agility, though he struggled to catch interceptions in drills. Would bet he gets a shot somewhere.

* Defensive tackle Olsen Pierre ran a 5.15 in the 40.

* If you saw my Twitter feed, you’ll get a roll of NFL personnel I spotted, but among the notables were a large contingent of Dolphins personnel (GM Dennis Hickey, VP Mike Tannenbaum, head coach Joe Philbin, offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle, running backs coach Jeff Nixon, special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi), Jets head coach Todd Bowles, Saints head coach Sean Payton and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. NFL Network said seven GMs attended, including Hickey. The others: Mickey Loomis (Saints), Mike Maccagnan (Jets), Kevin Colbert (Steelers), Doug Whaley (Bills), Steve Keim (Arizona), Ruston Webster (Tennessee) and Floyd Reese (Giants). Former Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland, now a college scout with New Orleans, was also there.

* Former Hurricanes who attended included Andre Johnson, Frank Gore, Clinton Portis, Edgerrin James, Demarcus Van Dyke, Jacory Harris, Lamar Miller and Tommy Streeter. A slew of players from the 2012 and 2013 teams were there. Jonathan Vilma was also in attendance, working for NBC Sports along with former Dolphins great Jason Taylor. NFL Network had a five-person crew and analyst Mike Mayock interviewed several UM players and coach Al Golden, who did not speak to other media.

* Former Hurricanes running back Damien Berry, a Glades Central grad who won a Super Bowl with Baltimore in 2012, was the oldest of several pre-2014 Hurricanes who worked out (linebacker Tyrone Cornelius and defensive end Shayon Green, both from the 2013 team, also performed).  “I’m still young, 26 years old. I think it’s time to give it another shot,” said Berry, who last played for UM in 2010 and now lives in Boca Raton. Berry, 5-11 and 230 pounds, he said he ran a 4.7 in the 40.

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2017 Miami RB Commit Robert Burns Threw Up The “U” With ‘Canes Legend Edgerrin James

Nike’s The Opening regional camp series began today in Miami. One of the attendees was 2017 Miami (Fla.) Gulliver Prep running back Robert Burns, who is committed to the University of Miami. 

Burns generated some buzz earlier today when he guaranteed that “the U will be back.” Burns also took a picture of himself throwing up the “U” with one of Miami’s greatest running backs, Edgerrin James. 

There’s a while to go before Burns will be able to contribute for the ‘Canes on the field, but Miami fans have to love his presence on social media today. 

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Edgerrin James fails to make final cut in his first year of HOF eligibility

First-year candidates Junior Seau, Kurt Warner and Orlando Pace are among 18 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Naples resident and former Immokalee High star Edgerrin James, who was one of 26 semifinalists, did not make the cut in his first year of eligibility.

The list of nominees was reduced Thursday to 15 from the modern era, one senior and two contributors. A finalist must receive at least 80 percent of the votes from the 46-person selection committee to be elected.

The class of 2015 will be announced Jan. 31 in Phoenix during "NFL Honors," the TV show in which The Associated Press hands out its eight individual NFL awards. Inductions will be in August in Canton, Ohio.

The modern-day finalists are kicker Morten Andersen, running back Jerome Bettis, wide receiver Tim Brown, coach Don Coryell, running back Terrell Davis, coach Tony Dungy, linebacker-defensive end Kevin Greene, linebacker-defensive end Charles Haley, wide receiver Marvin Harrison, coach Jimmy Johnson, safety John Lynch, and guard Will Shields.

The senior nominee is former Vikings center Mick Tingelhoff.

Special contributors are Bill Polian and Ron Wolf, the architects of Super Bowl teams as executives.

Of the three coaches on the ballot, Dungy is in his second year of eligibility, Johnson in his 16th and Coryell in his 28th. Hall of Fame rules for coaches changed in 2007, requiring the coach to be retired for five seasons.

Seau, who committed suicide in 2012, played two decades with three teams and made 12 Pro Bowls. He was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1992.

Warner guided St. Louis to its only Super Bowl victory after the 1999 season and also led the Rams to the title game two years later. He helped Arizona get to its only Super Bowl after the 2008 season. He won league MVP honors in 1999 and 2001.

Pace was the first overall draft pick in 1997 by the Rams and played 13 seasons, with five Pro Bowl selections.

Like Dungy, one of his star players, Harrison, is in his second year of eligibility.

Andersen, seeking to become the only kicker other than Jan Stenerud in the hall, and Lynch are in their third years on the ballot. Andersen played 25 pro seasons with five franchises and set the NFL records for points (2,544), field goals (565) and games (382). Lynch spent 11 seasons with Tampa Bay, four with Denver, and made nine Pro Bowls.

Shields, a Pro Bowl guard 12 straight years with Kansas City, is in his fourth year of eligibility. Bettis, nicknamed "The Bus," carried the Steelers to the 2005 NFL championship in his final season and has been on the ballot for five years.

Brown, a standout kick returner as well as pass catcher, is in his sixth year of eligibility.

Davis gave Denver an efficient running game to go with John Elway's passing, and they took the Broncos to championships in 1997 and 1998. This is his ninth year on the ballot.

Pass-rushing stars Haley and Greene are in their 11th year of eligibility. Greene played for four teams and made the Pro Bowl five times. Haley won five Super Bowls, two with San Francisco and three with Dallas, the only player to do so.

Tingelhoff retired in 1978 after 17 seasons as one of the most durable and dependable centers in the league. He never missed a game, starting 240, and made it to four Super Bowls.

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Edgerrin James Among 26 Pro Football Hall Of Fame Semifinalists

INDIANAPOLIS – Another cut has been made for the 2015 Pro Football Hall of Fame Class and several Colts still remain.

A list of more than 126 candidates is down to 26 with Tony Dungy, Edgerrin James and Marvin Harrison left as semifinalists.

On January 8, the 26-man list will be dwindled down to 15 finalists before a 4-to-8 man class is voted on the Saturday of Super Bowl weekend.

The 2015 ballot is the first year James has been eligible for Canton.

James is the Colts franchise leader in rushing yards (9,226) and ranks 13th in NFL history with 15,610 total yards from scrimmage.

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Bill Polian Explains Drafting Edgerrin James Over Ricky Williams

As one of the most successful general managers and team presidents in NFL history, few people understand how to create the blueprint for a winning football team like Bill Polian. After building the Buffalo Bills team that went to four consecutive Super Bowls and taking the expansion Carolina Panthers to the NFC championship game just two years after the team's creation, he was responsible for the Indianapolis Colts drafting Peyton Manning with the first overall pick in 1998 and oversaw the team's victory in Super Bowl XLI. Now, Polian shares his blueprint for building a successful football team in The Game Plan: The Art Of Building A Winning Football Team. In this excerpt, Polian analyzes his trade of Marshall Faulk to the Rams and opting for Edgerrin James rather than Ricky Williams in the draft.

... The next day, we used the fourth overall pick on the lesser known of the two top running backs in the draft: Edgerrin James of the University of Miami. Ricky Williams, the Heisman Trophy winner from Texas, was the household name that most people thought we would select. Instead, the New Orleans Saints chose him with the next pick, which they acquired by trading their entire draft (plus their first- and third-round picks in 2000) to the Redskins, because that was how badly they wanted Ricky Williams.

As we were just getting ready to wrap up for the day, Dom Anile, our personnel director, tossed his car keys to Tom Telesco, one of our scouts, who is now general manager of the Chargers.

"Here, Tommy, go start my car," Dom said. We all laughed at the implications of that statement.

Despite the public outcry, Dom and I had no hesitation about our pick whatsoever. The reason media analysts and fans knew a lot less about Edgerrin than they did about Ricky was because the NCAA had placed Miami on probation and, therefore, the Hurricanes' only nationally televised game the previous season was against UCLA. In our mind, there really was no comparison between the two.

For one thing, the way Ricky carried himself, the way that he lived his life, was entirely inconsistent with being a good football player. Second, we weren't convinced that he really cared about football. Third, when you broke it down, Ricky was good, but not great, and that was what he turned out to be as a pro -- good, but not great. I don't know whether or not his love of football held him back because he had great gifts, but he obviously didn't distinguish himself.

Edgerrin, on the other hand, had incredible gifts to go along with a clear love for the game and desire to excel. Although he was a scholarship player at Miami, Edgerrin had to earn his playing time. He told us that if it weren't for some bad luck for Frank Gore and Willis McGahee with injuries, he might not have ever gotten a chance to play. Edgerrin also described Frank as the most gifted running back he had ever seen, and Frank has subsequently demonstrated as much during his career with the 49ers.

Edgerrin’s interview with us was tremendous, while Ricky's was the complete opposite. We decided to meet with Ricky at our facility because we were told that he really didn’t like going out to restaurants. We catered a big dinner for him from St. Elmo’s, the famous Indianapolis steak house, in a conference room. Ricky walked in, sat down and was essentially non-communicative.

On top of that, Ricky had done very poorly in his pre-draft workout. He ran something like a 4.75-second 40-yard dash. He certainly didn't match up with Edgerrin in terms of the numbers and that told us that he wouldn't be a good fit in our offense. We used a zone-blocking scheme, which means the blockers are moving laterally and are essentially taking defenders where they want to go. The running back has to have patience, wait to see the hole open, and then tremendous vision and acceleration to get through the hole. He has to go from a geared-down state to a hundred miles an hour.

Ricky’s acceleration in the hole was average at best. He was much better suited to a power running system, where he would use all of that body mass that he had and the explosion he had to get to the hole and maybe run over people. Then, when he was out in the open, he could throw it into fourth gear.

Adding to the initial criticism we received for choosing Edgerrin over Ricky was the fact that before signing his contract, Edgerrin held out for a couple of weeks, which caused him to miss our rookie camp. We played him sparingly in the first preseason game, but he saw more extensive action in our second, at New Orleans.

I was seated in the Superdome press box with Dom and Chris. We were one booth away from the owner, so we could see Jim Irsay and Jim could see us. With the offense down in the red zone, we ran an outside stretch play to the right, and Edgerrin ripped off about a seven- or eight-yard gain. We ran the very same play again, and this time Edgerrin made two guys miss before running about 15 yards for a touchdown.

I looked over at Jim, he looked over at me and gave the thumbs up.

We wound up going 13–3 in our second season, a complete reversal of our first year and the biggest one-season turnaround in league history...

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Edgerrin James, OJ Anderson & Jerome Brown among Hall of Fame nominees

INDIANAPOLIS - Former Colts Coach Tony Dungy is among the Modern-Era candidates nominated for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2015.

Three former Colts players are also up for consideration: wide receiver Marvin Harrison, running back Edgerrin James and offensive lineman Chris Hinton.

Quarterback Kurt Warner, linebacker Junior Seau, wide receivers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt, tackle Orlando Pace, and kicker Jason Elam are also in the running.

This year's list of Modern-Era nominees includes 99 players and 14 coaches. A Modern-Era candidate - player or coach - must be retired for at least five consecutive seasons to be eligible for consideration.

That list will be whittled down to 25 semifinalists and 15 finalists to be announced in January.

List of Modern-Era Nominees for the Class of 2015
*Finalist in 2014

Quarterbacks: (4) - Randall Cunningham, Rich Gannon, Phil Simms, Kurt Warner

Wide Receivers: (9) - *Tim Brown (also KR), Isaac Bruce, Gary Clark, Henry Ellard (also PR), *Marvin Harrison, Torry Holt, Sterling Sharpe, Jimmy Smith, Rod Smith

Tight End: (1) - Mark Bavaro

Running Backs: (14) - Shaun Alexander, Ottis Anderson, Tiki Barber, *Jerome Bettis, Roger Craig, Stephen Davis, Terrell Davis, Eddie George, Priest Holmes, Edgerrin James, Daryl Johnston, Jamal Lewis, Herschel Walker (also KR), Ricky Watters

Offensive Linemen: (23) - Willie Anderson (T), Tony Boselli (T), Jeff Bostic (C), Lomas Brown (T), Jim Covert (T), Bill Fralic (G/T), Jay Hilgenberg (C), Chris Hinton (G/T), Kent Hull (C), Joe Jacoby (T), Jon Jansen (T), Mike Kenn (T), Jim Lachey (T), Kevin Mawae (C/G), Mark May (G/T/C),Tom Nalen (C), Nate Newton (G), Orlando Pace (T), Chris Samuels (T), Mark Schlereth (G), *Will Shields (G), Tra Thomas (T), Steve Wisniewski (G)

Defensive Linemen: (12) - Al "Bubba" Baker (DE), Jerome Brown (DT), Carl Hairston (DE/DT), *Charles Haley (also LB), Jevon Kearse (DE), Dexter Manley (DE), Charles Mann (DE), Steve McMichael (DT/NT), Fred Smerlas (NT), Greg Townsend (DE), Ted Washington (DT/NT), Bryant Young (DE)

Linebackers: (13) - Cornelius Bennett, Tedy Bruschi, *Kevin Greene (also DE), Ken Harvey, Clay Matthews, Willie McGinest (also DE), Karl Mecklenburg, Matt Millen, Sam Mills, Junior Seau, Chris Spielman, Darryl Talley, Zach Thomas

Defensive Backs: (16) - Eric Allen (CB), Steve Atwater (S), Joey Browner (S), LeRoy Butler (S), Thomas Everett (S), Rodney Harrison (S), Ty Law (CB), Albert Lewis (CB), *John Lynch (S), Terry McDaniel (CB), Tim McDonald (S), Frank Minnifield (CB), Shawn Springs (CB), Troy Vincent (CB/S), Everson Walls (CB), Darren Woodson (S)

Jamal Lewis is the youngest player to score a touchdown in a Super Bowl (21)

Kickers/Punters: (5) - *Morten Andersen (K), Gary Anderson (K), Jason Elam (K), Sean Landeta (P), Nick Lowery (K)

Special Teams/Position Players: (2) - Brian Mitchell (RB/PR/KR), Steve Tasker (also WR)

Coaches: (14) -Don Coryell, Bill Cowher, *Tony Dungy, Tom Flores, Mike Holmgren, Jimmy Johnson, Chuck Knox, Buddy Parker, Richie Petitbon, Dan Reeves, Lou Saban, Marty Schottenheimer, Clark Shaughnessy, Dick Vermeil

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Trent Richardson's Mentor? Edgerrin James.

ANDERSON, IN --- 2014 is very important to Trent Richardsonicon-article-link. He’s acknowledged such, and Saturday he had the Indianapolis Colts all-time leading rusher Edgerrin James watching him practice for the first time.

“It was a blessing, man. Just to watch practice, he said he’s going to do a lot more with me, going to be hands-on,” said Richardson Saturday after practice. “We’ve been having phone calls back and forth, but I never had the chance to practice in front of him.”

Richardson says the relationship started around the time he was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy at Alabama in 2011. As fate would have it, Richardson was traded to the same team Edge burst onto the NFL scene with in 1999, with four 1,500 yard rushing seasons through 2005 with the Colts.

“Last year when he got here during the middle of the season, it wasn’t fair to him to try to get in with all the stuff he had going on,” said James Saturday after spending more than 30 minutes with Richardson following the end of practice. “I told (Colts owner) Mr. (Jim) Irsay that I would come up during training camp.”

“We’ve had a lot of phone calls. Mentally, he’s always been on my side, keep me positive and stuff,” Richardson said of James. “Even with the stuff that was happening last year, we always kept in touch. Even before I got (to Indianapolis).”

Richardson’s struggles last season are well documented. He averaged less than three yards per carry, after the Colts traded a first round pick for him to the Cleveland Browns. But James says getting traded week 3 in the middle of an NFL season would have been hard on any player.

“It’s unfair to kind of judge him on last year, because it’s two different systems, and the terminology is totally different,” James explained. “He was just kind of thrown out there. You can’t really get an assessment.”

James said Richardson is going to be a better player in 2014, and he’s helping to make that happen.

“It’s just a blessing to have him critique you, to have him be your critic. That’s a good critic, to have him to show you...it’s going to be big for me. It’s a big help,” Richardson elaborated.

So what advice did James give Richardson? “He said when you practice just make it like a game.”

Richardson said James offered more critiques as well, from a resume that includes four Pro Bowls and two NFL rushing titles.

“Just little stuff, stay behind my pads. That’s one thing I’ve always done, one thing he’s always told me that’s been a positive about me,” Richardson recalled. “And make sure I finish runs. That’s when you’re at practice and not at practice, it all shows up. You’ll be ready for the game with that.”

Richardson said James will be back out at practice Sunday to watch him practice again. When you’re talking about a player who has his own section in the owner’s private memorabilia room, alongside other great Colts like Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison and Eric Dickerson, that’s a pretty good mentor to have.

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Immokalee's Own Edgerrin James Returns to Host Football Camp

Ave Maria - Nearly 500 kids ranging from age 6 to 18 came to Eastern Collier County for a free football camp hosted by former NFL star Edgerrin James.  James was a star at Immokalee High School and the University of Miami.  Then took his talents to the NFL where he gained over 12,000 rushing yards and scored 91 touchdowns.  The camp is a yearly tradition each summer with some of the best instructors in the NFL and NCAA helping Edgerrin develop the next generation of players from Southwest Florida.  The hands-on camp helps each athlete from the inside out, giving all in attendance the ability to realize their potential in a fun and safe environment.

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Edgerrin James' free camp growing once again

In its second year at its new location, Edgerrin James' youth football camp is expecting a bigger turnout than last summer. But there's still room for more kids to sign up, organizers of the free event said.

The Edgerrin James Foundation Youth Football Camp is expected to bring about 600 kids from around the state to Ave Maria's North Park on Monday. The event, now in its fifth year in Collier County, is free to kids ages 6-18.

Last year around 500 children came to the camp its first time in Ave Maria. James, the former NFL All-Pro running back, started the camp in his hometown Immokalee in 2009. After the 2012 event was canceled due to maintenance on the facilities, the camp was moved to Ave Maria in 2013.

"We're expecting more people this year," said Karen Mingo, a project manager with James' foundation. "Last year we changed to a different location. It's a very nice facility, a very nice area. We had great support from the Immokalee and Naples areas. It should be even better this year."

After a year off and a change of venue, the camp's enrollment could creep back to the levels it enjoyed in Immokalee. The event hosted about 1,000 kids in 2010 and nearly 1,200 in 2011.

Foundation program director Yhonsha Rue said 200 kids have registered for the event. However, that doesn't include the charter buses the foundation is bringing in packed with kids from the Orlando and Miami areas.

Several high school football teams from South and Central Florida also are bringing their own buses, Rue said. Many high school teams come just for the 7-on-7 tournament hosted by the camp each year.

James, who played 11 seasons in the NFL for three teams, runs the camp and brings along some of his famous football friends to help coach. In the past, NFL players Reggie Wayne and Clinton Portis have been at the camp, along with super agent Drew Rosenhaus.

The list of this year's coaches isn't finalized, Rue said. Members of the James family, who help run the foundation, will be there. James' brother Jeffrey James, and cousins Javarris James, Walter James and Dedrin Smith all will be instructors. Each played football at Immokalee High School.

"Edgerrin's goal is to give back to the community that helped him," Rue said. "Kids can look forward to learning football and agility techniques. The focus is to get kids active in a safe environment."

Anyone wishing to attend the free camp can register on the Edgerrin James Foundation and Charities Inc. Facebook page. Registration the day of the event begins at 8 a.m., while the camp begins at 9.

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In retirement, Edgerrin James enjoys being a 'tourist' of life

If it's Tuesday, and Edgerrin James' fluid schedule has him in Naples, Fla., you'll find him at Champion Billiards. It's league night, and James considers himself quite the pool hustler.

"For a football player, I'm probably one of the best you're gonna find," offered the self-assured former Indianapolis Colts running back. "Yeah, I'm near the top.

"I joined the league a couple of years ago, and whenever I'm in town, it gives me something to do."

Finding something to do has been a year-round job since James retired from the NFL following the 2009 season.
onsider a recent travel itinerary:

— in New York to watch his Miami Heat face the Brooklyn Nets in an NBA playoff game
— a junket to Las Vegas for, well, a good time
— an ensuing trip to Los Angeles
— a stop in Albuquerque, N.M., which included a side trip to Cibalo National Forest
— back to South Florida

It was near the end of his seven-year stint with the Colts that James shared his view of a post-NFL life.

"I plan on being a tourist. Full-time," James offered, smiling but dead serious.

Reminded of that exchange in a recent telephone interview, James laughed lightly. The man had a vision, and is living it.

"I am a tourist," he said. "I'm always moving around. It's non-stop reading and learning and trying to listen to everything.

"Just livin' life. It's everything we talked about in the past. I don't want to be on someone else's clock. None of that."

Generally, home base is South Florida. Specifically, James divides his time among Orlando, Miami and Naples. The latter is where you'll find him during the school year.

James has six children — three boys, three girls — and they dictate his whereabouts.

"I'm never too far away from them," he said.

He chuckled when asked for their names.

"Nah. All of them start with 'E' and all have the last name James. That's all you need to know."

The oldest, Equisha, just completed her junior year in high school, and she plans to attend Howard University in Washington, then enroll in law school at the University of Miami.

"We already did the college tour thing," said James, who's single. "We did it the right way.

"Everything is working the way it was kind of laid out. I'm just following the map."

The NFL provided the means to the developing that map, and carrying it out.

The Colts selected James with the fourth overall pick in the 1999 draft and he repaid their faith by setting franchise rushing records for a career (9,226), season (1,709) and game (219). He won league rushing titles in 1999 and 2000, and was selected to four Pro Bowls.

When the team opted not to re-sign him after the 2005 season, he spent three seasons with the Arizona Cardinals and one with the Seattle Seahawks. In 11 seasons, James rushed for 12,246 yards, the 11th-best total in league history, and piled up 15,610 total yards from scrimmage, No. 13 all-time.

He's eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2015.

"I did my part, on the field and off the field," James said. "Whatever happens, happens."

When the college football season resumes, James once again plans to frequent games at The U. He's hooked on tailgating, something his playing career kept him from experiencing.

"You knew how much fun everybody was having, but not you," he said. "I love to tailgate when they have the night games. You have all day.

"I don't get to do the NFL games because they're too early in the morning."

At some point, James plans to write a book aimed at sharing his life experiences.

"Too many guys are in a bad position right now, financially and otherwise," he said. "I want to lay out my route, how I've done it. So many guys have similar backgrounds, so you hate to see so many guys making those mistakes and having to struggle after their (careers are over).

"For me, everything is moving in the right direction because I did things the right way. It was all part of planning it from the beginning."
James paused.

"Life has always been good," he said. "You know me, man. I make the best out of everything, so life's always going to be good no matter what's going on.

"I'm just Edge. Just being Edge."

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Sorry, but ex-Colt Edgerrin James pullin' for Heat

One of the most popular players in the Colts' Indy era anticipates another return to his home away from home in the next week or so.

He isn't expecting to be met with open arms.

"Man, you know I'm a Heat fan,'' Edgerrin James said, laughing lightly.

If he can secure a ticket – and that's likely considering his local connections – James plans to be on hand for Sunday's Game 1 of the NBA's Eastern Conference Finals between the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat, or one of the subsequent games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

As he mentioned, he's a huge Heat fan. He was on hand for one of their road wins against the Brooklyn Nets in the conference semifinals.

"I love Indiana,'' said James, who became the Colts' career rushing leader during his seven-year career (1999-2005). "Indiana is so important to me.

"But like I said, I want the Heat to keep on playing. If the Heat lose, I don't have nothing to do. My schedule revolves around having fun. Heat games are fun, you know?''

James resides in South Florida, but has made an occasional return to Indianapolis. That includes during the 2012 season when he was added to the team's Ring of Honor at Lucas Oil Stadium and last October when he and Marvin Harrison were on hand for Peyton Manning's return with the Denver Broncos.

"You know what that place means to me,'' he said.

But James' loyalty to the Heat isn't likely to waver. He conceded he won't draw attention to himself by wearing a Heat jersey.

"Nah, I'll just go with my regular white T-shirt,'' he said.

The Pacers followed a rocky path to their long-anticipated showdown with the LeBron James-led Heat, and James won't mind if they continue to follow that schizophrenic blueprint.

"Man, you don't know which guys are going to show up,'' he said of the Pacers. "When it comes to the Heat, I hope it's the Pacers that don't play to the best of their ability.

"They're pretty good when they're on their game.''

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Edgerrin James and the falling value of running backs

It was a rainy Saturday in March 2006 when Edgerrin James visited the Cardinals for the first time. Kurt Warner was gamely trying to hold his annual flag football tournament on the practice fields, and the Cards were in the process of locking up a star running back. The price, in the end, was four years and $30 million. James didn’t collect all of it, but he still got plenty. The Colts felt James was on the downside, not worth the cash, and in the end, they were proven right that they didn’t need him — winning the Super Bowl in 2006 with young Joseph Addai and the serviceable yet forgettable Dominic Rhodes at running back.

The overall trend to run through running backs when they were cheaper and then move on hadn’t enveloped the NFL completely. But that’s about when the Cards’ thought process turned. From there, Tim Hightower was a fifth-round pick who essentially replaced Edge in 2008. Beanie Wells was added in the first round for 2009. Ryan Williams was drafted in 2011. Then came Andre Ellington and Stepfan Taylor last season. The Cardinals have not spent anything close to significant money on a free agent running back since Edge. They have yet to have a running back drafted play past his rookie contract. The reality of the NFL is that the position has not only be devalued, the bottom dropped out of the market faster than Arizona home sales circa 2009.

Only Williams is scheduled to make at least $1 million this season, and whether he remains on the 53-man roster for 2014 is very much up in the air. Ellington (who only will make $495,000) is the starter, and whether Taylor ($495,000) or Jonathan Dwyer ($795,000) is the other back, there is little (relative) investment. You see the same across the league, with the money being paid to free agent running backs, with the way running backs are sliding down the draft every year. The way things have gone, that No. 3 overall pick spent on Trent Richardson might be the last time a top 10 pick is spent on a back ever.

Of course, “ever” is a long time. Sometimes, a back is special and deserves the big money. Adrian Peterson comes to mind (and no, we won’t go into how he ties into the Cardinals and the Edge signing right now.) But these days, it doesn’t look like many Petersons will emerge. Not the way colleges are using running backs themselves, and not the way the NFL is handling them once they get to the pros.

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Edgerrin James relives his childhood coaching Pop Warner team

He might have been standing on the opposite sideline and on the opposite side of the ball but, football-wise, things have come full circle for former NFL All-Pro Edgerrin James.

James began his illustrious football career as a kid playing Pop Warner for the Immokalee Braves at Gary Bates Stadium. It’s the same field he would later star for Immokalee High School.

After 11 years in the NFL, mostly with the Indianapolis Colts, a Super Bowl and four Pro Bowls, James found himself on Saturday taking the gridiron once again at Gary Bates Stadium.

Though James is the Miami Hurricanes all-time second leading rusher, it is with a new set of Hurricanes he finds himself involved with — the Naples Hurricanes’ Mighty Mite team.

James is their coach. His son, Edgerrin Jr., is the team’s quarterback.

James wanted the players to focus on today. But with everything around him, helplessly, James was caught up in yesterday.

“Played right here,” said James, 35, who rushed for 12,246 yards and 80 scores in his NFL days. “The Immokalee Braves. Same field. Same everything.”

Well, not everything was the same. The Braves have become the Seminoles, whom the Hurricanes played. And instead of James standing on the Immokalee sideline, he was standing on the opposing one.

“First time ever I went against anything Immokalee,” he said. “Wasn’t conflicted. I know all the kids. It’s youth football. It was actually really fun. My son never got the chance to see me play high school football, so he had a lot of questions. That was pretty cool.”

James is finding coaching a team of 8-year-olds to be pretty cool indeed. With their 31-6 victory on Saturday, the Hurricanes have improved to 7-1. He’s having a ball watching the kids run double-reverses or even sometimes a no-huddle offense.

“Edgerrin is one of the most devoted coaches we’ve ever had,” said Hurricanes athletic director Rich Koert. “He is completely devoted to the kids and our program. To see a great player like him do what he is doing sets an example for all youth coaches.”

Youth football has changed dramatically since James’ playing days with the Braves. There are more leagues, more teams and more intensity. Youth players’ stats and combine times are now entered into national databases by scouting services and sold to high school and college programs.

For some, youth football has become a moneymaking venture.

James sees another downside.

“Now, it’s just so many different leagues,” he said. “You don’t get the best of the best because all the talent is scattered about. When we played, you had to make the team.”

From the pros to Pop Warner, another issue that runs throughout all levels of football is safety. Many parents are concerned about allowing their children to play a collision sport at such a young age.

James allays those fears.

“Once (parents) get informed and see what it takes, and if their kids are coached the right way, they’ll let their kids play, “ he said. “You just have to make sure the coaches are doing their part.

“Sometimes adults are putting their personal feelings in and that can hurt the kids. As along as things are done the right way, it’s not a problem. When kids are taught the wrong way, that’s where there is a problem and that starts at youth football.”

Regardless of the issues and concerns youth football faces, Saturday reminded James what the game is truly about.

“My son is giving me a chance to relive it,” James said. “You don’t realize youth football is the funnest time in your life until you play at the highest levels.

“I went to the highest levels of the game. I played in a Super Bowl. But, hands down, youth football is way better than that. That’s what I want these kids to find out.”

Read more here: naplesnews.com

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Edgerrin James honored by ACC

Former Hurricanes running back Edgerrin James was one of 15 players named to the 2013 ACC Football Legends Class, the conference announced Wednesday.

The Legends Class will be honored during the ACC Championship game on Dec. 7 at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium. James will be recognized by Miami at the school’s Nov. 23 home finale against Virginia.

James, who lives in Orlando, ran for 2,690 yards in three seasons at UM and is the only running back in school history to record multiple 1,000-yard seasons. The fourth overall pick in the 1999 NFL draft, he played 11 years in the NFL, mostly with the Indianapolis Colts. He was a four-time Pro Bowl selection and a member of the NFL All-Decade Team for the 2000s.

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Edgerrin James returns with free camp July 29

Edgerrin James is bringing his free kids camp back to Southwest Florida after a year hiatus. The Immokalee High School graduate’s Speed and Agility Youth Football Camp is scheduled for Monday, July 29 in Ave Maria.

A retired veteran of 11 NFL seasons, James hosted the youth camp in Immokalee for three summers before field renovations at the location canceled the event last year. In 2011, the last time James put on the camp, more than 1,000 kids participated.

The camp runs from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in its new location, Ave Maria’s North Park, 4010 Anthem Parkway. The camp is free to kids ages 6 to 18. Registration begins at 8 a.m. the day of the camp, and advance registration is available online at edgerrinjamesfoundation.org.

James will be in attendance teaching the skills that helped him climb to 11th on the NFL’s all-time rushing list, mostly with the Indianapolis Colts. In past summers, James has brought several NFL friends with him, including former Redskins running back Clinton Ports, Colts receiver Reggie Wayne and agent Drew Rosenhaus. Fellow Immokalee grad Javarris James, Edgerrin’s cousin and a former NFL running back, also has been at previous camps.

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Indianapolis Colts' best draft picks: No. 3, RB Edgerrin James

Many thought the Indianapolis Colts should take RB Ricky Williams. Some actually groaned when they heard the name “Edgerrin James” called with the fourth overall selection in 1999.

Who was that? They would soon find out.

The Colts had traded RB Marshall Faulk, so choosing the University of Miami running back couldn’t have been more important. And president Bill Polian got the right guy.

“Edge,” as he would come to be known, could do it all. He was an elusive runner who could handle the pounding of being a workhorse. He caught passes out of the backfield. And perhaps most overlooked by others but not his teammates was James’ ability to pass protect. Nobody took on a blitzing LB like Edge.

“You know the thing about it, it’s the timing of everything,” James said in a March interview. “At the University of Miami, we never got the chance to carry the ball a lot. We had to split carries. We never got a chance to really show how good we are. Everybody always knew I was good. Everybody at Miami. If you ever came to a practice, people knew I was very good. But with TV and all the magazines, everybody wanted them to go off with somebody else.

“Mr. Polian and the rest of the Colts organization, they understood what they needed for that offense. I think it was just a matter of it’s not who’s the best runner. They needed somebody who could do both. And for me, because I had to block a lot and do other things, I don’t think Ricky had to do all of that stuff. The fans and everybody else, they see somebody run around all day but they don’t understand all of the other things you have to do. And the Colts offense, it’s not easy. I don’t know why people think it’s easy to run the Colts offense. It’s tough to be a running back in that offense. After I left, they put in so many different people. You have to be smart. You have to be tough. You’ve got to do a lot of blocking. Then you get to run the ball, but it kind of fits in after the passing.”

James won the NFL rushing title his first two seasons with 1,553 yards in 1999 and then a career-high 1,709 in 2000. He scored 13 rushing TDs each year. He caught 62 passes for 586 yards and four TDs as a rookie, then a career-high 63 passes for 594 yards and five TDs in his second season.

The only question about Edge is what kind of numbers he might have been able to put up if he didn’t suffer a knee injury six games into 2001. The torn ACL required surgery and it took him a while to recover.

He never put up those earlier numbers again, but was still a workhorse. The Colts ran him 277 times for 989 yards in 14 games in 2002, the year after his knee surgery. Those numbers climbed to 310 carries for 1,259 yards, 334 carries for 1,548 yards and 360 carries for 1,506 yards in 2005, his last season with the team.

Edge met with owner Jim Irsay before that final season and asked the team not place the franchise tag on him. The back sensed his time with the Colts was near an end. It would be too expensive for the team couldn’t use that tag again.

After 2005, James wasn’t re-signed. The Colts’ all-time leading rusher with 9,226 yards was allowed to leave via free agency. He had two decent years in Arizona, running 337 times for 1,159 yards, then 324 carries for 1,222 yards. His final year with the Cardinals, his numbers dropped off. After a limited six-game stint with Seattle in 2009, James retired.

Williams, the Heisman Trophy winner drafted by New Orleans with the next pick after James was taken, finished his career in 2011 with 10,009 rushing yards and 66 TDs. He also caught 342 passes for 2,606 yards and eight TDs. He made one Pro Bowl.

James amassed 12,246 yards on 3,028 carries (597 more attempts than Williams) with 80 TDs. He also caught 433 passes for 3,364 yards and 11 TDs. He was named to the Pro Bowl four times. While he didn’t play for the Colts on the Super Bowl XLI winner in 2006, Irsay gave James a ring anyway out of respect for the back’s contributions.

Edge was inducted into the Colts’ Ring of Honor on Sept. 23, 2012.

“I always loved the Colts fans,” he said, looking back on that day. “I knew they were the best fans in the world. I always had the funnest times. I grew up in the NFL and as a person, from the first day I stepped out as an Indianapolis Colt. Here in college, you’re kind of guarded. When I got to Indianapolis, the way everybody embraced me, I understand a lot of people didn’t know me but little bit by little bit, being in the community and being around and getting a grasp of what is going on around that city, you actually become a part of that city. When I got back there for the Ring of Honor, it was just a reminder.”

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