Indianapolis Colts team owner Jim Irsay indicated on Saturday that Hall of Fame running back Edgerrin James mediated to help repair the franchise’s once fractured relationship with star workhorse Jonathan Taylor (via the IndyStar’s Nate Atkins):
On a call with reporters, Jim Irsay said that Edgerrin James was a mediator in repairing the Colts' relationship with Jonathan Taylor.— Nate Atkins (@NateAtkins_) October 7, 2023
Both sides were ultimately able to agree to a 3-year, $42 million contract (with $26.5 million guaranteed) on Saturday, ending a contentious contract saga that lasted all offseason and even carried over into the beginning of this year’s regular season.
Of course, James understands the business side of the NFL at running back, just as well as anyone. At age 28, he left the Colts in March of 2006 to sign a 4-year, $30 million deal with the Arizona Cardinals in free agency—which was considered a top running back contract at that time.
However, James still maintains great respect for Irsay, as what the Colts provided to him throughout and even after his decorated NFL career remains invaluable.
After all, it was Irsay who gave James’s introductory speech for James’s Hall of Fame induction for the Class of 2020 and even a $700K car to help him celebrate (*not to mention, flew out James’s family to Canton, Ohio on his private jet):
Jim Irsay with a very touching introduction of Edgerrin James, ending with this: "If I had a son, I’d want it to be him, let’s put it that way."— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) August 7, 2021
It was the Colts franchise that provided James a Super Bowl ring in 2006 for what he accomplished and meant for the franchise despite having left the team in free agency an offseason before they ultimately hoisted the elusive Lombardi Trophy.
It’s not as though the Colts never paid James either, as he signed a lucrative 7-year, $49 million deal as a rookie 4th overall pick in 1999, before contracts were capped because of the implemented rookie scale.
When his rookie contract lapsed, the Colts then slapped the then $8M franchise tag on James during March of 2005, which James was admittedly unhappy about.
James still remains close with Irsay too, as he makes guest appearances to accompany ‘The Jim Irsay Band’ and is an occasional visitor at the Colts facility and at annual team training camp.
What exactly was said between James and Taylor remains between them, star running back to former star running back, but ‘Edge’ is frequently considered one of the realest personalities to ever play professionally in the NFL.