Edgerrin James among finalists for Pro Football Hall of Fame


Indianapolis Colts running back Edgerrin James watches play against the Jacksonville Jaguars December 11, 2005 in Jacksonville. The Colts defeated the Jaguars 26 – 18 to remain undefeated. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Edgerrin James, whose relentless style led to a record-setting career with the Indianapolis Colts, once again finds himself on the doorsteps of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

The Colts’ career rushing leader and one of the most productive running backs in league history is one of 15 modern-day finalists for the Class of 2019. The elite group was announced Thursday evening.

It marks the third time in the last four years James has reached the final 15 in his quest to have his bronze bust added to Canton. It’s his fifth year of eligibility.

The Class of 2019 will be determined Feb. 3 when the 48-member Selection Committee – I am a member – meets in Atlanta, the day before Super Bowl LIII.

Joining James on the Final 15 modern-era list: safeties Ed Reed, Steve Atwater and John Lynch; cornerbacks Champ Bailey and Ty Law; defensive lineman Richard Seymour; tight end Tony Gonzalez; wide receiver Isaac Bruce; offensive tackle Tony Boselli; center Kevin Mawae; guards Alan Faneca and Steve Hutchinson; and coaches Don Coryell and Tom Flores.

Johnny Robinson has been nominated as a senior finalist while Pat Bowlen and Gil Brandt are contributor finalists.

The Hall of Fame, James told me in the past, “is one of those things you set out to do. It kind of caps off your career.

“I think I did my job when I played. I did things my way. I never changed. I stayed true to myself.’’

He also remains adamant his 11-year resume merits inclusion.

“It’s as plain as day,’’ James said. “It’s a no-brainer.’’

The Colts made James the fourth overall pick in the 1999 draft and he spent the next seven seasons establishing himself as one of the NFL’s elite runners. He led the league in rushing his first two seasons and was headed for a third straight title before suffering a season-ending knee injury in week 6 at Kansas City in 2001.

Before departing Indy as a free agent after the 2005 season, James set a slew of team records. He owns rushing records for yards in a career (9,226), a season (1,709) and a game (219), and set the mark for total yards from scrimmage with 2,303 in 2000. He was a four-time Pro Bowl selection and selected to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s.

James ranks 13th in NFL history with 12,246 rushing yards and 15th with 15,610 yards from scrimmage. Of the 12 running backs ahead of him on the all-time list, the only two not already in the Hall of Fame are two who still are active – Frank Gore and Adrian Peterson.

He’s trying to become the latest Colt to earn the NFL’s highest individual honor. 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.

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