‘The Edge’ eyes a comeback

By David Dorsey
Updated: July 26, 2010

FLORIDA — Almost 1,000 children, twice more than last year, flocked to the Immokalee Sports Complex Monday.

They ran the 40-yard dash, participated in a number of drills and played 7-on-7 football games under the eyes and guidance of 1996 Immokalee High School graduate Edgerrin James.

During his second annual football clinic, James said he remained undecided about whether he would return for a 12th season as an NFL running back. He said he would let his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, start negotiating at the right time.

“Now I’m healthy,” James said. “If the right situation presents itself, I’ll be playing.

“You never search. You don’t have to search. My resume is out there. The one thing about me is you know what you’re going to get. I’ve always been one of the best pass protectors out there. I know I can block and I can help protect those $20 million a year quarterbacks.”

Rosenhaus said the past year has been tough on James, whose wife died in early 2009.

“But he makes it work,” Rosenhaus said. “If the right opportunity presents itself, he’s going to play this year.”

But this day wasn’t about confirming James’s NFL future. It was about having fun.

At one point, James divided a number of athletes into two groups based on geography. The Southwest Florida children did shuttle runs against children from the Lake Okeechobee area.

Chants of “239!” and “OCB!” followed as the children competed against each other.

The 40-yard dash drew Fort Myers resident Alvin Barnes, who ran the distance in 4.6 seconds but then dropped the time to 4.5 seconds on his second attempt.

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“He’s a good role model,” Barnes said of Edgerrin James.

Barnes will be a senior running back at Dunbar High School this fall.

“It’s good coming out here,” Barnes said. “It shows you where you stand and what you need to work on.”

James was asked who he thought was the best NFL running back today, Chris Johnson of the Titans or Adrian Peterson of the Vikings.

“It depends on what you’re looking for,” James said. “They’re both great backs. The main thing with the backs is to maintain it over a long period of time, year-in and year-out.”

James predicted that most teams will stick with two starting tailback systems.

“I think financially it makes sense,” James said. “They can pay two or three guys less than the price of one.

“I think you’ll always see at least two guys. It’s tough for guys to year-in and year-out play for 16 games and the preseason.”