Ricky Williams or Edgerrin James?
That’s the debate the Indianapolis Colts had with the 4th-pick in the 1999 draft. And I think the franchise, looking back, is very pleased with their choice.
Edgerrin James was one of the most dependable, and vocal Colts players in the last decade. He took over for Marshall Faulk and worked seamlessly with Peyton Manning.
The Edge will return for a special celebration on Sept. 23, when the Colts host Jacksonville. James’ name will be added to the Ring of Honor, joining Robert Irsay, Bill Brooks, Chris Hinton, Jim Harbaugh, Ted Marchibroda, the 12th Man, Tony Dungy and Marvin Harrison.
Once Peyton retires, he will be added and how special would it be, in that moment, for the original triplets — Peyton, Marvin and Edgerrin — to all be honored.
James was a special character who did whatever the team needed. He had terrific chemistry with Peyton and certainly, always had his back.
To me, he will best be known for being Peyton’s safety-net. If no receiver was open, he’d find a whole in the flat. If a defender got in the backfield and was closing in on Manning, he’d take care of it. And when the ball was handed to him, he was a patient runner that looked for holes and would hop that way.
It’s only fitting that he will be added to the Ring of Honor and stand in front of Colts fans, at Lucas Oil Stadium, another time.
We know how Colts owner Jim Irsay feels about James. He gave Edge a Super Bowl ring in 2010, for all his contributions to the team.
“Edgerrin is one of the most significant players in our history, and he embodies the talent and competitive nature we seek in every player,” Irsay said in a release. “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.”
While with the Colts from 1999-2005, James rushed for 9,226 yards and 64 touchdowns on 2,188 attempts, and caught 356 balls for 2,839 yards and 11 scores. He won the league rushing title in each of his first two seasons, then tore an ACL six games into the 2001 season.
“It is a tremendous honor,” said James. “It’s one of those things that you set out to do and hope to have a career where you can leave a lasting imprint. For me, it’s super important because a lot of my young kids didn’t get a chance to see me play. Now, at least they’ll know their daddy could play a little bit.”
A few more stats:
James earned Pro Bowl honors four times with the Colts – 1999, 2000, 2004, 2005. He was a multiple first-team All-Pro choice in 1999, when he won NFL Offensive Rookie-of-the-Year honors from six entities.
In starting all 96 career games with Indianapolis, James set club rushing marks in attempts, most seasons leading the team in attempts (six), most seasons and consecutive years with 100+ attempts (seven), yards, seasonal yards, rookie yards, yardage in a game (219), most seasons as yardage leader (six), 100+ games (season, career, rookie and consecutively) and touchdowns (career, rookie). James is the only Colt ever to top 200 rushing yards in a game (219 yards at Seattle in 2000; 204 at Chicago in 2004). His career reception total is second-most by a Colts back, as is his streak of 47 straight games with a reception.
James is the club leader with 2,544 plays from scrimmage, and he is the only Colt to top 2,000 attempts in the category. James (2,303, 2000; 2,139, 1999; 2,031, 2004) has three of the club’s 2,000+ scrimmage yardage seasons. James’ 12,065 yards rank second in franchise history to Marvin Harrison (14,608), and he follows Harrison into the Ring of Honor. Harrison was enshrined in 2011.