The greatest running back in Indianapolis Colts franchise history is officially getting his gold jacket — and his rightful place among the best to ever play the game.
Edgerrin James today was selected for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as part of its Class of 2020. He'll be one of five Modern Era inductees in this year's class, which also includes safety Steve Atwater, wide receiver Isaac Bruce, guard Steve Hutchinson and safety Troy Polamalu.
"Edgerrin James is one of the greatest players this league has ever seen and absolutely deserves this enshrinement in Canton," Colts owner Jim Irsay said. "Edge was the textbook definition of an every-down running back who could do it all, and we knew he was special from day one. 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."
Relive some of the best moments from the career of legendary Colts running back Edgerrin James as he is announced as an inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
James will be one of two Class of 2020 selections with Colts ties. George Young, a former offensive coordinator, assistant coach and scout with the Baltimore Colts from 1968 through 1974, was announced on Jan. 15 as a Contributor inductee as part of the PFHOF's special Centennial Slate.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2020 festivities in Canton, Ohio, officially kick off Thursday, Aug. 6; the Enshrinement Ceremony will be on Saturday, Aug. 8. More information and official ticket packages can be found by clicking here.
Among those not selected for induction today was Colts great wide receiver Reggie Wayne, who was able to advance to the finalist round of 15 Modern Era players in his first year of eligibility. The good news for Wayne? Since 1970, 89.3 percent of all finalists have eventually been selected for induction, according to the PFHOF.
Wayne now sets his sights on the Class of 2021, when another Colts great is set to become Hall of Fame eligible: quarterback Peyton Manning.
James, the fourth-overall pick by the Colts in first round of the 1999 NFL Draft, made an immediate impact alongside Manning and wide receiver Marvin Harrison, as he earned NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors and led the league in rushing yards his first two seasons, becoming just the third player since the 1970 NFL/AFL merger to accomplish that feat.
Considered by Hall of Fame head coach Tony Dungy to be "probably the most complete back I've been around," James would go on to become 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).
Manning has always lauded James not only for his ability to make plays in the run game, but for his contributions in the pass game — both as a receiver and as a blocker. James' 356 receptions in Indy rank eighth on the team's all-time list.
"My coach used to get mad at me because I wouldn't carry out my fakes on certain run plays,'' Manning said, via FOX59/CBS4’s Mike Chappell. "My reasoning was I wanted to watch Edgerrin James run the ball. You hear about players wanting to watch other players play. There's a famous clip of Randy Moss on the sideline getting up on the bench because he said he wanted to watch Brett Favre play.
"Well, I wanted to watch Edgerrin James play. I had a front-row seat. That says a lot about how special of a player he was.''
James played seven 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 also delivered on the big stage; he ranks third all-time in combined regular season and postseason rushing yards, trailing only Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett, two first-ballot Hall of Famers. James is also one of four players in NFL history with at least 1,500 rushing yards in four or more seasons; the others on that list are Barry Sanders, Walter Payton, Eric Dickerson — again, all first-ballot Hall of Famers.
James, who was named to the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 2000s, was a Hall of Fame finalist this year for the fourth time in five years. He was inducted into the Colts' Ring of Honor in 2012.