November 14, 2010
From 1999 through 2005, the Indianapolis Colts benefited greatly from the efforts of a 6-foot, 215-pound running back who went to the University of Miami and had a nose for the end zone. That running back's name was Edgerrin James(notes), and though James went to Arizona in 2006 and finished his NFL career in Seattle in2009, his stats (9.226 rushing yards and 64 rushing touchdowns, not to mention 2,839 receiving yards and 11 receiving scores in a seven-year period) won't soon be forgotten by the Indy faithful.
Fortunately, the 2010 Colts have the services of a running back named James, who also stands 6-foot and weighs 215 pounds, and who also went to "Da U". Did Edgerrin come back to the Colts under the radar? Not quite, but it's all in the family. Javarris James(notes), an undrafted rookie running back, is the younger cousin of Edgerrin James, and he's scored three rushing touchdowns for the team in the last two games - including this three-yard run against the Cincinnati Bengals in the second quarter of Sunday's 23-17 win:
This isn't the younger James' first experience with the Colts - he remembers being in awe when cousin Edgerrin introduced him to Peyton Manning(notes) years ago. Now, Manning is counting on him to make plays in the team's injury-depleted offense. Edgerrin was selected in the first round over a decade ago, while Javarris has knocked around with a few teams before finding a home.
"There weren't any expectations," he recently said of his early journey through the NFL. "I was just trying to prepare myself, like I would every week since I've been back. Going in, preparing myself like I was a starter, just making sure I knew all my assignments and everything I needed to know so I could go out there comfortable."
With starting backs Joseph Addai(notes) and Mike Hart(notes) claimed by injury and Donald Brown's(notes) pass-blocking continuing to be a problem, James was pressed into service and impressed right away.
"He has a good understanding of the system," Colts head coach Jim Caldwell told the Associated Press. "That was certainly big because of the fact that there's quite a bit to know and understand, and he was able to retain a lot of that."
James is expected to be a rotational back when the starters return, but you never know how things will work out in this funny business - and this particular running back certainly has the genetic edge!
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