I still remember the 1999 NFL Draft. The Indianapolis Colts had the fourth pick, and Texas running back Ricky Williams was still on the board. I was still pretty chapped about the Colts selecting Peyton Manning over Ryan Leaf the year before--a move that I was certain would come back to haunt the Colts.
(Hey, we can't all be right all the time.)
So when it was announced that some guy out of Miami named Edgerrin James was coming to Indianapolis, instead, my mouth fell open. What spewed out of it for the next hour or two isn't fit for print.
Of course in hindsight, that Manning guy turned out to be a little better than Leaf, and that James guy wasn't half bad, either.
On Sept. 23, when the Colts host the Jacksonville Jaguars, The Edge will be enshrined in the Colts' Ring of Honor, joining Robert Irsay, Bill Brooks, Chris Hinton, Jim Harbaugh, Ted Marchibroda, the 12th Man, Tony Dungy, and Marvin Harrison.
"I am very pleased to announce the addition of Edgerrin James to the Colts' Ring of Honor," said Colts owner and CEO Jim Irsay through the Colts website. "Edgerrin is one of the most significant players in our history, and he embodies the talent and competitive nature we seek in every player.
"Edgerrin ran his way into the record books and into the hearts of all Colts fans. He now is taking a rightful place among others enshrined in our Ring, and he represents all that is right with the Horseshoe."
The list of James' accolades is lengthy and spelled out in detail on the Colts' announcement. In sum, he was one of the load-bearing beams of the team's offense that ran roughshod over the NFL for years. The combination of Manning, James, and Harrison was even more lethal than the storied Dallas Cowboys combo of Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin.
James was a blend of speed, power, and finesse. One minute, he was juking a defender out of his shoes and then breaking away from him out in the open. The next minute, he was plowing the poor guy into the ground.
Though his final years in the league were spent with the Arizona Cardinals and the Seattle Seahawks, he will always be remembered as an Indianapolis Colt. Apparently, James feels the same way.
"It feels great to be among the names (in the Ring of Honor)," he said through the Colts website. "Not only did you play, but you were one of the top players to play in the organization. ... No matter where I go or what I do, I'm always a Colt."
Eleven seasons in the league--seven of which were in Indy--over 12,000 rushing yards, and 80 touchdowns. Another 3,364 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns through the air. Two-time league rushing champion. Four-time Pro Bowler. The 11th all-time leading rusher in NFL history.
Not too shabby, Edgerrin.
I'd say this honor by the Colts franchise is well-deserved.
The author is a resident of central Indiana and a longtime fan of the Colts. He is also a Featured Contributor in Sports for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. You can follow him on Twitter at @RedZoneWriting and on Facebook.
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- Indianapolis Colts
- Edgerrin James
- Edgerrin James
- Peyton Manning