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ARIANS BELIEVES JAMES IS ONE OF THE BEST BACKS EVER

Posted by Kevin Bowen on September 20, 2012 – 2:52 pm

With 20 years of NFL experience, Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians has seen his fair share of exceptional talents.

From Pro Bowlers to Hall of Famers, Arians has coached and coached against numerous players with endless resumes.

Arians had the privilege to coach former Colts running back Edgerrin James for his first two seasons (1999-2000) in the NFL and hasn’t seen a finer back.

“As good as there’s ever been in my opinion,” Arians said of James. “I mean he could do it all. He’s in the top five or six backs to ever play the game in my opinion. He was fun-loving, he practiced hard, he played hard, and I just have great, great memories of him.”

James will be inducted into the Colts Ring of Honor during halftime of Sunday’s contest with the Jaguars.

Memories of James ran through Arians head on Thursday as he recalled what type of player James was on the field.

“He never had to come out of the game, never would come out of the game,” Arians said. “I had to laugh because we were talking about it this morning, it’s kind of become fashionable now for a running back to fall down at the end of the game when all the defensive guys are going to let you score. Edge said, ‘I ain’t falling down, I’m going in for a touchdown.’

Outside linebacker Robert Mathis is just one of three Colts players on the current roster who called James a ‘teammate’ in Indianapolis.

Mathis played his first three seasons in the NFL with James and enjoyed how No. 32 always seemed to ‘lighten the mood’ in the Colts locker room.

“I view him as a big brother because he helped show the ropes and helped you out,” Mathis said. “He’s not a guy that’s going to tear anybody else down in the locker room to build himself on. He’s going to bring you up to this level.”

“You couldn’t ask for a better teammate. It will be a good to see him and he’s well-deserving of his honor.”

Since James retired from the NFL in 2009, there has been a lot of debate on whether or not he will find himself in Canton, Ohio one day.

If it was up to Arians, that would not even be a question.

“Oh there’s no doubt, first ballot, has to be,” Arians said of James’ Hall of Fame candidacy. “With all the things he did early in his career and then finishing up. Everybody ahead of him is already in. A lot of people were upset when we traded Marshall (Faulk) and didn’t take Ricky Williams, but Bill (Polian) knew what he was doing.”


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