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Edgerrin James ‘special from the beginning,’ Irsay says

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — “He was special from the beginning,” Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said.

The moment is forever ingrained in his mind from 22 years ago: the day Edgerrin James first stepped foot in Indy, and forever altered his franchise. 

“It’s just that feeling you get when you’re in a room with someone like that, a special person who is going to do special things and you just say, ‘Wow, now I know we were right with that pick,’ and the rest is history,” Irsay said.

James and the front office forged a special friendship over the next seven years he spent in Indy.  That bond withstood the test of trades, a move to a different team and time.

“Irsay, he has always taken good care of me,” James said. “Irsay has always been, like, super cool from day 1. Even though I went to Arizona, the relationship remained the same,” James said.

That respect is why the Colts’ all-time leading rusher chose to turn to his former boss on one of the biggest nights of his life. James asked Irsay to present him at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“He is an important person to myself and the relationship we built over the years. I have so much respect for Mr. Irsay and the organization, I thought it would only be right,” James said.

As for what to expect at the scene of Saturday’s ceremony, he admitted Irsay’s speech could be unpredictable.

“Man, I don’t know, it’s going to be pure, it’s going to be real. That’s the thing I appreciate the most about it. He’s going to be open and honest and that’s the beauty of it. Mr. Irsay’s always been himself and that’s one connection that we have,” James said.

Irsay was emotional as he discussed his invite to introduce James.

“It’s the greatest privilege I think that I could have. It’s just an indicator to me that forging that close relationship and really knowing what great friends we are, how we have each other’s backs and how close we really, really are. I mean, these guys mean a tremendous amount to me. They lay a lot on the field, their preparation. It’s a tough game. They are heroic in what they do. That’s Edgerrin. It always has been,” Irsay said.