The 26 semi-finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2017 were announced tonight, and the list features former Indianapolis Colts running back Edgerrin James and offensive lineman Chris Hinton.
James is in his third year of eligibility and has been a semi-finalist each year, as he made the cutdown to the semi-finalists in his first year and then last year made the cutdown to the group of finalists, though he ultimately didn’t get in. Still, however, being a semi-finalist in three straight years to begin his eligibility is a positive, and hopefully that’s a good sign that he’ll get in eventually. If he were to make it this year, it would be the third straight year in which the Colts had someone inducted into the Hall of Fame, as general manager Bill Polian was inducted in 2015 and head coach Tony Dungy and wide receiver Marvin Harrison were inducted in 2016.
If you’re hoping for him to get in this year, though, don’t hold your breath. That’s because also included in the group of semi-finalists is running back LaDainian Tomlinson, who’s eligible for the first time this year and is very likely to get in. With Tomlinson very likely to be elected, it will make things incredibly difficult for Edge to get in as well, as with a limited number of spots he’d have to get in as the second running back in this class - something the committee probably won’t do. So while I do think James deserves to be in the Hall of Fame (as I’ve written about before), I doubt it will come this year.
His resume is certainly impressive. In eleven NFL seasons he rushed for 12,246 yards and 80 touchdowns while averaging four yards per carry, and he caught 433 passes for 3,364 yards and eleven scores. Total, he recorded 15,610 yards and 91 touchdowns. He topped 1,000 yards rushing in seven different seasons, led the NFL in rushing twice, and is the Colts’ all-time leading rusher - by a lot. He was a four-time Pro Bowler, a first-team All-Pro, the Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1999, a member of the NFL All-Decade Team of the 2000s, and is also in the Colts’ Ring of Honor.