Colts fans already have a number of reasons to love the man they affectionately call "Edge." If they didn't have enough reasons to like Edgerrin James, however, here's another one.
Colts.com's Steve Andress has the story about one of the main reasons that the great Colts running back was back with the team at training camp on Saturday, and it was to mentor current Colts back Trent Richardson. James said on Saturday:
"Last year when he got here during the middle of the season, it wasn't fair to him to try to get in with all the stuff [Richardson] had going on. I told Mr. Irsay that I would come up during training camp.
"It's unfair to kind of judge him on last year, because it's two different systems, and the terminology is totally different. He was just kind of thrown out there. You can't really get an assessment."
It was clear that Richardson really appreciated the gesture and that he's already learned a lot from James. Said Richardson:
"It was a blessing, man. Just to watch practice, he said he's going to do a lot more with me, going to be hands-on. We've been having phone calls back and forth, but I never had the chance to practice in front of him."
Not only was it great for Edge to be there at practice, Richardson said that the former running back gave him good advice, too. Andress wrote:
James said Richardson is going to be a better player in 2014, and he's helping to make that happen.
"It's just a blessing to have him critique you, to have him be your critic. That's a good critic, to have him to show you...it's going to be big for me. It's a big help," Richardson elaborated.
So what advice did James give Richardson? "He said when you practice just make it like a game."
Colts fans will always have a special place in their hearts for Edgerrin James. In an 11-year career spanning three teams (but playing with the Colts for seven years), Edge rushed for 12,246 yards and 80 touchdowns while averaging 4.0 yards per carry. He ranks 11th all-time in NFL history in career rushing yards and 19th all-time in career rushing touchdowns. In addition, he also caught 433 passes for 3,364 yards and 11 touchdowns. He had seven career 1,000+ yard rushing seasons and four different seasons in which he had double-digit rushing touchdowns. He was a huge part of one of the greatest offenses the league has seen, one of the greatest offensive seasons the league has ever seen (the Colts in 2004), and one of the greatest decades of success the league has ever seen. While Edge didn't win a Super Bowl with the Colts, he was a major factor in the Colts becoming the team that they became, and for seven years he was leading the team offensively with Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison. On the field, Edge is a borderline Hall of Fame running back. Off the field, Edge made fans love him even more. From his personality to his interviews, it was hard not to like Edgerrin James. And now, he's back at training camp practice this weekend mentoring the Colts current running back (and one who had a really rough start to his Colts career, unlike James), Trent Richardson.
I don't know if Richardson will have a good 2014 or not. I expect him to be improved, but I'm not sure how much - we'll just have to wait and see on the field. But one thing that's certain is that if he struggles, you won't be able to say it was because he didn't have a good mentor or teacher - because Colts ring of honor member and former star running back Edgerrin James is about as good as it gets.