Edgerrin James will have to wait a little longer than expected to be formally inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced today that as a public health precaution, its Class of 2020, which features James, the former great Indianapolis Colts running back, will now be enshrined in a ceremony in August of 2021.
The PFHOF also announced that the annual Hall of Fame Game, which traditionally kicks off the NFL's preseason schedule, will now be played between the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers on Aug. 5, 2021.
In fact, all events tied to the 2020 Enshrinement Week will now take place Aug. 5-9, 2021.
"The health and safety of our Hall of Famers, fans and volunteers who make Enshrinement Week so special remains our top priority," David Baker, president and CEO of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, said Thursday. "The Hall will honor the Centennial Class of 2020 next August, along with what promises to be an equally spectacular Class of 2021, as part of a multi-day celebration of football with an atmosphere that will deliver for fans 'Twice the Fun in '21.'"
Those who have already purchased tickets to the Class of 2020 enshrinement ceremony will hold those seats, the PFHOF said, and they will also be included in a presale opportunity for the enshrinement ceremony honoring the Class of 2021, which will be held separately from the Class of 2020's.
According to the PFHOF: For fans seeking a refund on ticket purchases, the request must be received by Friday, July 31. The refund policy, an online form for submissions and answers to other questions will be posted Monday, June 29 at www.profootballhof.com/2020ticketoptions/.
The greatest running back in franchise history, James is the Colts' all-time leader in 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).
The Colts' first-round (fourth-overall) selection in the 1999 NFL Draft, James played seven total seasons in Indy, and ended his career with four more seasons with the Arizona Cardinals (2006-08) and the Seattle Seahawks (2009). A two-time First-Team All-Pro, two-time Second-Team All-Pro and four-time Pro Bowl selection, James currently stands at No. 13 on the NFL's all-time rushing yards list (12,246); of the 12 players ahead of him, 10 of them are already in the Hall of Fame, and the other two — Frank Gore and Adrian Peterson — are still active NFL players.
James is not the only person with Colts ties who will become a Hall of Famer with the Class of 2020 next year. George Young, a former offensive coordinator, assistant coach and scout with the Baltimore Colts from 1968-74 who later won two Super Bowl titles as general manager of the New York Giants, is also being inducted as part of the PFHOF's 2020 "Centennial Class," which includes James and four other Modern-Era players, 10 Seniors (a player retired for more than 25 seasons), three Contributors (an individual like Young who is neither player nor coach) and two coaches.
'Twice The Fun In '21?'
Canton could very well become a Horseshoe haven next summer.
Not only is James now being inducted as part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2020 next August, but 2021 is also the first year of eligibility for Peyton Manning.
The all-time-great Colts quarterback joins safety Charles Woodson as virtual shoo-ins for the Class of 2021. Other first-time-eligible players on next year's ballot include pass rusher Jared Allen, wide receiver Calvin Johnson, guard Logan Mankins and quarterback Michael Vick.
But let's not forget about another all-time-great Colts offensive weapon who could be included in the Class of 2021 right alongside Manning.
Wide receiver Reggie Wayne this year was able to advance to the finalist round of 15 Modern-Era players in his first year of eligibility. Since 1970, almost 90 percent of all finalists have eventually been selected for induction, according to the PFHOF.