Edgerrin James never had any problem being just who he was, and his personality left a wide swath when he arrived for his three seasons with the Cardinals. Now, as the former running back readies to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Aug. 8, that part of it remains one of his cherished legacies.
"People are always trying to mimic something else or are trying to figuring this thing out, and they get away from who they are," James said. "I realized I could be myself and still accomplish all the things you want to accomplish. That was important to me.
"If more people could be themselves, you'd find happier people."
There were times when Edge wasn't happy in Arizona. His first season, filled with so many expectations upon his arrival and the drafting of Matt Leinart, featured an eight-game losing streak (and Edge's comment in the middle of that streak that people "warned" him it could be like that in Arizona) and eventually a coaching change.
He also found himself demoted through part of the 2008 Super Bowl season in favor of Tim Hightower.
But Edge did reach 1,000 yards in two of his three seasons in the desert. He became an important part of the offense during that Super Bowl run. Even with his time and stats with the Colts far overshadowing his time with the Cardinals, he still recalls his Arizona stint fondly.
"I can't say my time with the Cardinals wasn't big-time," James said. "I enjoyed my time with the Cardinals. The thing about going to the Cardinals and the thing I appreciated the most was a lot of people wouldn't have taken that chance to go to a team that wasn't doing well, a high-risk situation.
"But I take pride in the decision that I made, knowing we turned that program around. We took that team to the Super Bowl. I don't think anybody anticipated that. When you look at everything the Cardinals had in place, it was an easy decision for myself. I always appreciated Mr. (Bill) Bidwill, (GM) Rod Graves and all those guys, because it wasn't something that was easy, but everybody came together. We came together and we were very close to winning the Super Bowl. That means a lot."