Former Colts running back Edgerrin James was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year, and he has written a revealing essay about what made him a Hall of Famer — and why he and fellow Hall of Famer Peyton Manning were the perfect teammates.
James wrote at ThePlayersTribune.com that he didn’t have an easy upbringing and didn’t fit into some people’s preconceived notions of what a blue-collar football player looked like, but he took his job as seriously as anyone.
“I’m in the GYM at three-four-five o’clock in the morning by myself, putting in work. While they was sleeping, I was grinding,” James wrote. “Let it be a lesson. Judging a book by its cover and all that. You saw what it was on Sundays. You saw how I stood in the paint on pass protection. Yeah, I was always myself. But I was always about my business.”
James said Manning was the one other player who matched him for putting in the work necessary to be the best.
“Peyton Manning. I’m sorry, see earlier I said I was always about my business. That’s true. But the guy who was really the undisputed heavyweight champion of being about his business was Peyton,” James wrote. “We couldn’t have been from more different backgrounds, but we were kindred spirits when it came to Sundays. That’s gonna sound crazy to some people, but Peyton knows what I’m talking about.”
The success James and Manning had together can be traced back to that approach to doing their business.