Most football players who stand 5’6’’ don’t get a chance in the NFL, so the fact that James spent any time in the NFL is an amazing feat, making him an inspiration to short-statured athletes in all sports. After he shared the backfield at Auburn with Bo Jackson, the Chargers took a chance on him in the 5th Round of the 1984 Draft. James did not disappoint. In his second pro season, he led the AFC in receptions and set the NFL record with over 2,500 all-purpose yards.
“The Little Train,” as he was called, was a trendsetter of sorts, being a running back capable of catching passes out of the backfield before that was seen as a necessary skill set for running backs. However, he hurt his knee during training camp in 1986 and was limited to just seven games. Knee issues continued to plague him, causing him to lose carries, spending just three more seasons in the NFL. Ultimately, Derrick Mason broke his record for all-purpose yards and James was largely forgotten about like most one-hit wonders.