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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