INDIANAPOLIS – Edgerrin James finally is on his way to Canton.
The greatest running back in Indianapolis Colts history was one of five modern-era players elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday in Miami, Fla.
James will become the second player from the dominant Colts teams of the 2000s to be enshrined, joining wide receiver Marvin Harrison, who was part of the Class of 2016.
Former Indianapolis head coach Tony Dungy also was inducted in 2016, and long-time Colts general manager Bill Polian was elected in 2015.
Quarterback Peyton Manning will join the group next year in his first year of eligibility.
James ranks 13th in NFL history with 12,246 rushing yards, and he scored 80 rushing touchdowns during his 11-year career. James holds Colts franchise records for rushing attempts (2,188), yards (9,226) and touchdowns (64).
“Edgerrin James is one of the greatest players this league has ever seen and absolutely deserves this enshrinement in Canton,” Indianapolis owner Jim Irsay said in a statement released by the team. “Edge was the textbook definition of an every-down running back who could do it all, and we knew he was special from Day 1.
“He was one of the game’s most productive players and was an important part of Colts teams that produced one of the winningest stretches in NFL history. I know he helped put that shine back on the Horseshoe, and all of Colts Nation is extremely proud today.”
James led the league in rushing as a rookie with 1,553 yards in 1999 was even better the next season with a career-high 1,709 yards and 13 touchdowns on a whopping 387 carries.
In 2001, James suffered a major knee injury, and the Colts slumped to a 6-10 finish. It was the last time Indianapolis missed the playoffs with a healthy Manning at quarterback.
But James rebounded from the injury in historic fashion, posting five more 1,000-yard seasons – and two 1,500-yard campaigns – after his return.
As Irsay alluded to, James also was a threat as a pass catcher. He had 433 career receptions for 3,364 yards and 11 touchdowns.
The only void on his resume is a Super Bowl ring.
James played his final season in Indianapolis in 2005, rushing for 1,506 yards and 13 touchdowns before signing with the Arizona Cardinals as a free agent. The Colts won Super Bowl XLI the following season.
James posted two more 1,000-yard seasons in three years with the Cardinals before finishing his career with the Seattle Seahawks in 2009.
Selected fourth overall out of the University of Miami in 1999, James was met with skepticism and outright defiance upon his arrival in Indianapolis.
Many fans were hoping to hear Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams’ name called instead of draft day, but James proved Polian made the right pick.
Now, he’ll take his rightful place among the game’s immortals during the Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony in August.
“Started With Gold Teeth,” James posted to his Instagram account, announcing his election, “Ended with a Gold Jacket.”