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Edgerrin James' Tough 2008 Chronicled In 'A Football Life'

Hall of Fame running back reiterates he made right call to become Cardinal

Edgerrin James was one of my favorite Cardinals to cover. He was a fascinating and really smart guy. The way he was so blunt, the way he had swag before that was really what it was called, and he was a pretty good player too -- even in his Cardinals' years near the end of his career.

It's cool to see James -- one of the newest Hall of Fame members -- featured in "A Football Life." (The episode premieres at 7 p.m. in Arizona, 9 p.m. Eastern, on Friday on the NFL Network.) It covers in part his time in Arizona, which started rocky but ended with a Super Bowl appearance -- the only one of James' career.

"Everybody said, 'Don't go to Arizona,' " James says in the piece. "I'm telling you, I made a good decision by going there. I saw nothing but some good players and I'm like, 'Man, there can be some winning over here.' "

The other thing that caught my attention was how hard that 2008 Super Bowl season was on James. What was known was that the Cardinals went away from James for a chunk of that season, barely playing him for an eight-game stretch in favor of Tim Hightower. But James, if upset never really showed it, and came prepared when the Cardinals turned to him again in the season finale and then in the playoffs. One thing often lost is how James sparked a resurgence in what had been a terrible running game, one of the reasons the Cardinals made the Super Bowl.

But James was also dealing with the reality that his longtime girlfriend, mother of his four kids and, as referenced in the show, "the love of his life," Andia Wilson, had been diagnosed with leukemia. So Edge was flying back to Tampa all season when he could to visit Wilson in a cancer center. She passed away a few months after the Super Bowl -- which had been, as it happened, in Tampa.