The Redemption of Edgerrin James

Aaron LiebmanAnalyst IJanuary 29, 2009

Edgerrin James was drafted in 1999 by the Indianapolis Colts, the year after Peyton Manning arrived.  The two were instrumental in dragging Indy out of the guaranteed double-digit-loss-a-year category and turned them into legitimate contenders.

But as more playoff berths came, so did playoff losses.  It wasn't until 2003 that the Colts won ONE playoff game. 

Things looked better in 2005, however.  The Colts started the season 13-0 and had the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage through the playoffs.  For a team that had lost consecutive playoff games in New England, this seemed to be the one essential they needed.

However, old habits die hard and the Colts became the first top seed to lose to a No. 6 team.  It seemed like the Colts would never win the big one. 

So it was understandable that James would want to explore options elsewhere.  He promptly signed with the Cardinals.  Before you could say, "What the heck is this guy thinking dumping Indy for Arizona," you had to remind yourself that Indy sure was no prize before James was there and maybe he could turn it around.

Well, the 2006 season was a disaster.  For the Cardinals in general, but also for James' business decision.  The Colts rode another rookie running back, Joseph Addai, to its first Super Bowl win.  Their former running back, James, was deemed an overpaid bust and the Cardinals once again started from scratch.

It would seem that James was the worst businessman in pro football in history.  Luckily for him, another running back named Tiki Barber not only left his team, but left football and talked smack about them.  We all know what happened with that.

But as James and the Cardinals got off to a quick start this season, more attention was being paid to the team's younger running backs, J.J. Arrington and Tim Hightower.  I myself remember the game against the Jets in which the Cards had a goal-line situation and pulled James out in favor of Hightower.

That would just be the first benching of James.  It got to the point where he was rarely playing and even demanded his release from the team.  The team said no, and almost in true Cinderella fashion, James re-emerged on the team for the playoffs and put up great numbers.

So now James has a chance to do what Plaxico Burress did.  No, not shoot himself in the leg.  And no, not get suspended from the team.  Plaxico Burress left that Steelers team that beat the Colts in 2005, and that year they won the Super Bowl without him.  He would get his ring with the New York Giants

Could the same redemption be in the "cards" for Edgerrin...