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Old 11-19-2008, 01:46 PM   #130
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Posted by Mike Florio on November 19, 2008, 3:20 p.m.

Though he’s apparently committed not to creating a distraction for the 7-3 Cardinals by publicly complaining about his current status with the team, we’re told that running back Edgerrin James asked the team to release him in the wake of his recent benching.

To little surprise, the team declined.

If he had been cut, he would have been exposed to the waivers system, and could have been claimed by teams like the Lions or the Bengals.

James started the first seven games of the 2008 season, but then didn’t play at all in a 34-13 win over the Rams. He played in the past two games, both wins, but started neither of them.

In a 29-24 win over the 49ers, James had two carries for four yards; during Sunday’s 26-20 victory over the Seahawks, James ran one time, for one yard.

James currently is being paid a base salary of $5 million, and he’s slated to earn a base salary of $5 million in 2009, the final year of his contract with the team. Barring a catastrophic injury to new starter Tim Hightower, it’s highly unlikely that the Cardinals would bring James back, at any salary.

The problem is that James joined the team in the final season of the Dennis Green era. New coach Ken Whisenhunt decided in the middle of the season to go in a different direction; undoubtedly, Whisenhunt’s strategy will result in James being released in the offseason.

That said, it makes sense for the Cardinals to keep him around. If Hightower or backup J.J. Arrington get hurt down the stretch, the Cardinals will need James to be ready to play.

James currently is ranked 13th on the all-time NFL rushing list, with 11,992 yards. He’s within striking distance of Thurman Thomas (12,074), Franco Harris (12,120), Marcus Allen (12,243), Jim Brown (12,312), and Tony Dorsett (12,739).

Each of those players already have been enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

Though James’ per-carry average has dipped below 4.0 yards during his time in Arizona, he rushed for 1,159 yards in 2006 (his first season with the team), and 1,222 yards a year ago.
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