As training camps creep closer and closer, there is undoubtedly at least one position on most teams where fans can look and see a hole that could be filled with a capable veteran. While these players are not expected to come in and shine for an organization, it is typically thought that they can offer unparalleled knowledge and can serve the role of a capable backup in case the main guy at a position goes down with an injury. Ten years removed from being the NFL Rookie of the Year, Edgerrin James is fitting that mold in 2009.
James was drafted fourth overall out of
James proved the naysayers wrong when from 2003-2007 in his time in
Here we are as July comes to a close and James still hasn’t signed on with a team. His name has been linked to
Fort Myers News-Press, James was candid about his thoughts on playing again when he said, “There are not 32 backs out there who are better than me … I want to continue to play. I can play at a high level.”
There is no doubt in this writer’s mind that James can still bring it on the football field. Despite having passed the foreboding age of 30, James stepped it up last year as the Cardinals began to balance their offense toward the end of the season. He recorded a 100-yard game in Week 17 against Seattle on just 14 carries and had almost 75 yards rushing against both Atlanta and Philadelphia in postseason play (in each of those games he averaged 4.6 yards per carry). If James had not stepped it up when his number was finally called as the season wore on, the Cardinals may not have made it to the Super Bowl.
For some reason, James has been given a bad label of being injured and not quite the player he once was. But since his injury season of 2001, James has missed just nine games in seven seasons and continues to increase his career totals in yardage which now stands at 12,121. If James were to have a 1,000-yard season in 2009, he would jump to seventh on the all-time rushing list just behind Eric Dickerson and would only be looking at Jerome Bettis, Curtis Martin, Barry Sanders, Walter Payton and Emmitt Smith in front of him.
James has been around the block for quite some time in the NFL. While he is not looked at as the flashy Rookie of the Year winner that he was in the early and mid-parts of the decade, James still has gas left in the tank and if he were to sign on with a team, would immediately provide the squad with a more than dangerous backup to spell a starter. Not only that but his successes in the league would be invaluable from a teaching standpoint.
Even when James is signed, he will most likely not be the number one guy in a given city.