Edgerrin James Fails to Make Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 15 Finalists for 2017

Former Indianapolis Colts running back Edgerrin James did not make the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s latest cut of 15 finalists on Tuesday–having previously made the initial cut from 94 nominees to 26 semifinalists in mid-November.

Despite being one of 15 finalists for 2016, James was not among this year’s group in what was his third year of eligibility.

Indianapolis Colts running back Edgerrin James prior to game against the Denver Broncos at Invesco Field at Mile High. Read Less content ©2016 USA TODAY Sports Images. All Rights Reserved.

Indianapolis Colts running back Edgerrin James prior to game against the Denver Broncos at Invesco Field at Mile High. Read Less
content ©2016 USA TODAY Sports Images. All Rights Reserved.

Instead, fellow running back greats LaDainian Tomlinson and Terrell Davis received the nod at James’ position among this year’s 15 finalists.

While both are deserving in their own right, James belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, as his body of work speaks for itself.

Specifically, James is the NFL’s 12th all-time leading rusher with 12,246 career rushing yards, which is significantly more than Davis’ 7,607 career rushing yards.

That’s also more than inducted Hall of Fame running backs such as Marcus Allen (12,243), Franco Harris (12,120), and Thurman Thomas (12,074) among others and just 66 and 33 career rushing yards behind Jim Brown (12,312) and Marshall Faulk (12,279) respectively.

He also added 80 career rushing touchdowns, which is the 19th most all-time among NFL running backs, which is more career rushing touchdowns than Hall of Famers such as Tony Dorsett (77), Earl Campbell (74), Leroy Kelly (74), Thurman Thomas (65), and O.J. Simpson (61) among others.

Additionally, James was adept in the receiving game, amassing 3,364 career receiving yards on 433 career receptions to go along with his 11 career touchdown receptions.

While James fell just one season short of winning a Super Bowl with the Colts in 2006, he finished as the Indianapolis Colts all-time rushing leader in attempts (2,188), rushing yards (9,226) and rushing touchdowns (64). He was later inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor in 2012.

Not to mention, James was a 1x 1st-Team All-Pro, 2x 2nd-Team All-Pro, 2x NFL Rushing Yards Leader, NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, 4x Pro Bowler, and member of the NFL 2000’s All-Decade Team.

He also ranks 14th all-time with 15,610 career yards from scrimmage.

In my honest opinion, pre ACL-tear James in 2001 was one of the best running backs I’ve ever seen. Yes, I’d still place him behind Barry Sanders, but he was right in the conversation with other modern elite running backs such as Marshall Faulk, LaDainian Tomlinson, and most recently, Adrian Peterson.

If you don’t believe me, see for yourself:

In his rookie season during 1999, James led the league in rushing with 1,553 rushing yards–having13 rushing touchdowns and and went on to win Offensive Rookie of the Year honors en route to becoming a First-Team All-Pro.

James went on to follow up his rookie performance by leading the league in rushing yet again in 2000, rushing for 1,709 rushing yards while putting up 13 rushing touchdowns in back-to-back seasons.

At the time, he was the 2nd fastest running back in NFL history to put up 2,500 rushing yards.

James finished only 2nd behind Marshall Faulk in most single season yards from scrimmage with 2,139 yards as a rookie in 1999 and later led the league with 2,303 yards from scrimmage just a season later in 2000.

Even after his ACL tear–despite perhaps some diminished explosiveness but with added power, James rushed for over 1,000 yards in 5 of his remaining 9 NFL seasons and even made the Pro Bowl in 2004 and 2005.

James belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, as it should not be a matter of if–but rather when.

It’s worth noting that fellow Colts semifinalist Chris Hinton (1983-89) was not among the Class of 2017’s 15 finalists either, as the former 3x All-Pro and 7x Pro Bowl offensive guard was left off the list as well. He was inducted into the Colts Ring of Honor in 2001.

It’s the first time in four years that the Colts will not have a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee’s ultimate deliberation.

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