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Hey, you look familiar!!!
Sunday, facing a team led by a new head coach and playing in a new stadium, James will face his former squad for the first time.
Back then, before he spent three years in Arizona and before he came to Seattle this summer, James was one of the league’s best running backs. He won back-to-back rushing titles in his first two seasons, was a key part of one of the AFC’s best franchises, and compiled a resume that now has him listed among the league’s all-time best backs.
But despite that seven-year history, despite the fact that he is still in regular contact with several players on the Colts roster, James insists that Sunday won’t be an overly emotional day for him.
“I’m not going to the RCA Dome, I’m going to a new stadium,” he said, referring to the Colts’ former stadium before they moved into Lucas Oil Stadium. “It’s not that big a deal for me, you’re going to play a football game and you go from there.”
But you must be wondering this week what it will be like to play against your old team, right?
“I don’t know, I don’t even think about it,” James said “I’m just trying to learn my stuff here, make sure I know what I’m doing so I can help this football team.”
Finally, with a little coaxing, James, the No. 11 rusher in NFL history, eventually relents that, yes, maybe this game is a little bit different than his first three with the Seahawks.
“I had some great years there and I will always be a Colt,” he said.
James stayed so ingrained with the Colts even after his departure that the team decided to give him a Super Bowl ring following the 2006 season, which was his first in Arizona.
“It meant a lot to me, because I was there for numerous years and I had an impact on that team,” he said. “Just the business aspect made it where we had to go in different directions, but I always will be close with the people around there and built friendships and relationships that are forever.”
Like most players in the NFL, James didn’t get to finish his career where it started, but he said he holds no resentment toward his former team.
“Never, not once have I had any bitterness,” he said. “I hung with them during the Super Bowl, I got a Super Bowl ring from them. I’m close with everybody in that organization. You just understand that the NFL is a business. Anybody that doesn’t realize this is a business is kind of fooling themselves.”
Jones doesn’t know what kind of reaction he’ll get from Colts fans, nor, he says, has he given it much thought. Besides, he points out, as a backup he won’t even be introduced before the game.
“Well I’m not a starter,” he said with a laugh. “What, are they going to point me out or something?”
Oh yes, that.
When James arrived in Seattle, he said he was coming in to compliment starting running back Julius Jones, and so far he has done just that without complaint.
He admits that his late signing made learning the offense a bit challenging, and through three games he has just 17 carries for 43 yards. For a player who has rushed for 1,100 or more yards in seven of his 10 NFL seasons, that’s a drastic change, but one he isn’t complaining about, even as he heads back to the city where he was at his best.
“You want to (have a bigger role), but you’ve got to make sure you know your stuff,” he said. “I understand that I got here late, so I can’t expect to just jump in and get rolling. I have to wait my turn and things will work out. Things always work out for me, so it’s going to get better and better.”