INDIANAPOLIS — Better late than never as they say.
Because of COVID-19, Edgerrin James has had to wait an extra year to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as one of five modern era inductees in the Class of 2020. But finally, next month, the greatest running back in Indianapolis Colts history will get that coveted gold jacket and bronze bust in Canton.
"One of those things you always set out to do. It's not easy, so to be able to accomplish it means a lot," James said.
Many deemed James questionable as a first-round draft pick, but during his seven seasons with the Colts, "Edge" became the best to ever wear the horseshoe and tote the pigskin. He's the franchise's all-time leader in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns, a four-time Pro Bowler and a favorite amongst his teammates and fans.
"When you look at what you did from start to finish, one of the proudest parts was after the injury. To come back and be successful after having an injury that was known to shut down a lot of running backs' careers and to continue going and continue at a high level, that's one thing that really stood out," James said.
The Colts franchise means a lot to James. Indianapolis took a chance on the running back out of Miami over two decades ago.
"That's home. That's home base," he said.
So when he had to choose who would present him at the enshrinement ceremony, he looked no further than Colts owner Jim Irsay.
"Irsay's always taken care of me. Irsay's always been like super cool from Day 1," he said. "The relationship we built over the years, I have so much respect for Mr. Irsay and the organization. I thought it would only be right."
And to make the historic moment even more special, Edge will be entering the hall of fame alongside his quarterback and friend, Peyton Manning. Together they turned around a struggling organization.
"As soon as I got there, we connected and we went to work. The hard work that we put in it just started showing, and it probably showed faster than we expected or anyone anticipated. But that's when the right pieces are put together. It shows. To be able to go into the Hall with Peyton and watching everything kinda develop and turn into what it's turned into, that's a beautiful sight."
The induction ceremony is scheduled for August 8.