— Hall of Fame: The Case for RB Edgerrin JamesINDIANAPOLIS — Will the third time be the charm for Edgerrin James?
The Pro Football Hall of Fame on Wednesday evening announced its 25 semifinalists for its Class of 2017, and for a third time, James, the greatest running back in Indianapolis Colts history, made the cut.
Also making the cut was former Colts great offensive lineman Chris Hinton.
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James — who was named a finalist last year for the first time — will know whether or not he once again made the cut to the 15 finalists for 2017 in early January, before the committee meets a few weeks later to determine the next Hall of Fame class.
James played 11 NFL seasons, including his first seven with the Indianapolis Colts. In his career, James was named to four Pro Bowls and rushed for 12,246 yards, which ranks 12th on the all-time list. His 15,610 total yards from scrimmage ranks 12th all-time among running backs, and is more than Hall of Fame backs Eric Dickerson, Jerome Bettis and Jim Brown.
The Colts' fourth-overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft out of Miami, James lit up the league from the start in his NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year campaign, leading the league in rushing with 1,553 yards and also scoring 13 touchdowns on the ground and four touchdowns through the air. He followed that up with 1,709 rushing yards in 2000, which is the most by a Colts running back in franchise history.
James would go on to become the Colts' franchise leader in career rushing yards (9,226), rushing touchdowns (64), rushing yards per game average (96.1), rushing yards in a single season (1,709 in 2000) and most seasons with 1,000 rushing yards (five).
2016 Pro Football Hall of Fame Finalist - EDGERRIN JAMES
James' Colts teammate and future Hall of Famer, Peyton Manning, certain feels No. 32 is deserving of spot in Canton in 2017.
"Edgerrin James was ... one of the best teammates I ever had, I really mean that," Manning told 1070 The Fan in August. "Absolutely unselfish and just flat-out productive. Guys just flat-out got tired of tackling him in the fourth quarter. You remember those games, he would just wear guys down."
Last year, James joined former Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison and head coach Tony Dungy as the team's finalists for enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. While Harrison and Dungy both ended up receiving their busts in Canton, James was not among those who made the cut.
Manning believes James belongs right there with his former receiver and head coach.
"Great work ethic as well, just like Marvin," Manning said of James. "I certainly hope that he is the next one because he's due and he deserves it just like Marvin and Tony do, as well.
Hinton, meanwhile, became one of the most decorated Colts offensive linemen ever during his career with the franchise from 1983 to 1989.
An All-Rookie Team selection as a guard in 1983, Hinton was selected to six Pro Bowls and was named All-NFL several times as a left tackle from 1985 to 1989.
Hinton joined the Colts in a trade that sent John Elway to the Denver Broncos and left the club in a trade with the Atlanta Falcons in 1990.
Through his career, Hinton played in 177 total games over 13 years with three teams, and was inducted into the Colts' Ring of Honor in 2001.
In Hinton's final three seasons in Indianapolis, he enjoyed blocking for future Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson, who joined the Colts in October 1987 in a three-team trade that also included the Los Angeles Rams and the Buffalo Bills.
Offensive lineman Ray Donaldson, linebacker Cornelius Bennett and safety Bob Sanders (in his first year of eligibility) were also among the other former Colts modern-era players that were up for nomination this year.