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IMMOKALEE — Edgerrin James had never announced his retirement from 11 seasons in the NFL — until this morning.
James, who turns 33 on Aug. 1, admitted his retirement at the start of his third annual Edgerrin James Foundation football camp at the Immokalee Sports Complex, just across the street from where he graduated at Immokalee High School in 1996.
“I’ve been retired,” said James, a running back who began his career in 1999 as the No. 4 overall pick in the NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. “I’m not playing anymore.”
At last year’s football camp, James said he would consider playing for the right team. He revealed today he was joking. He said he never wanted to make a big deal out of retiring.
“That’s the way I wanted it,” James said. “I wanted to get in, get out, no big thing. I’m on to something else now. Now, I’m a fan.
“I could play again as a free agent, but that’s not something I would do. I got in, got out. That was the plan. I look at it as a well executed plan. Now I can do stuff like this. This is what I want to do. I didn’t want to keep playing until I was too old and I couldn’t move around. The last year I played, I was hurt, and I never had a chance to get healthy.
“Could I play? Yes, I could play. But do I want to play? No. I’m past that. Let’s open up the door for somebody else.”
Earlier this morning, Collier County commissioner Jim Coletta gave James a proclamation declaring today as Edgerrin James Day.
“This proclamation recognizes Edgerrin James’ generosity and commitment to his hometown of Immokalee,” Coletta said. “Edgerrin’s camp engages each participant, from the beginner to the more seasoned athlete, giving them a chance to realize their potential in a safe and fun environment.”
James said he appreciated the recognition.
“It means a lot,” he said. “It means you’re doing things right. The county commissioner doesn’t show up when you’re not doing things right. That’s one thing I’ve always taken pride in, is doing things the right way. He paid me respects. For me, that’s big.”
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