Edgerrin James details adversity-filled 2008 season with Cardinals in documentary

Nov 20, 2022, 6:00 PM

Running back Edgerrin James #32 of the Arizona Cardinals runs the ball against the Carolina Panther...

Running back Edgerrin James #32 of the Arizona Cardinals runs the ball against the Carolina Panthers during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game on January 10, 2009 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Running back Edgerrin James had a an up-and-down season on the field for the Arizona Cardinals in 2008.

But any on-field frustration paled in comparison to the adversity he faced off it.

In NFL Network’s documentary “A Football Life: Edgerrin James,” James detailed that his longtime girlfriend and the mother of his four children, Andia Wilson, was battling leukemia during the season. He flew from Arizona to her treatment center in Tampa each week between games and practices.

“Every time we got time off, I would quietly get on a plane, fly to Tampa, to the Moffit (Cancer) Center, I’d sleep in the Moffit Center, then I’d get up and fly back to Arizona,” James said.

James’ teammate Larry Fitzgerald added: “He would come to work and you would never know anything was going on in his personal life. He was always locked in.”

Then-head coach Ken Whisenhunt said the organization knew what James was dealing with.

On the field, James saw his paying time shrink in the second half of the season, as he carried the ball only 11 times between Weeks 9 and 16.

Rookie Tim Hightower finished the season leading the team in rushes.

The Cardinals, though, leaned on James in Week 17 and the playoffs, as the 30-year-old gained 100 yards on 14 carries in the regular season finale in Glendale.

He was the No. 1 running back in Arizona’s run to the Super Bowl, which was played in Tampa.

It was the first Super Bowl appearance in James’ career which began in 1999.

“I went to Arizona and made it to the Super Bowl,” James said.

Wilson was able to attend the game, one that James gained 61 yards from scrimmage in.

It was the last time she watched him play, as she died during the ensuing offseason. James was released by the Cardinals soon after, something he requested.

James retired after the 2009 season and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the Class of 2020.

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