GLENDALE – Edgerrin James’ numbers are in decline, but James insists that his talents are not.
That is part of what has the veteran running back so frustrated about his role in the Cardinals offense, and irritated by the criticism generated by his decreased production.
James insisted he didn’t want to cause controversy by answering questions about how he’s being used this season. But he admitted several times on Wednesday that he’s frustrated.
With 363 yards on 101 attempts, James is on pace to rush for 968 yards and 269 carries this season. Both numbers would be his lowest totals since 2001, when he missed 10 games with a knee injury.
“I don’t know what’s going on,” he said. “I’m just here, just going to ride it out and get to the playoffs and, hey, that may be it right there.”
That’s a reference to his future with the team, not his career. James’ contract runs through the 2009 season, but there are no assurances the Cardinals will keep him after this year.
He is due to make $5 million in salary next season, and the club has a promising young player in rookie Tim Hightower.
Asked if he wanted to return next year, James said he just wants to play.
“I don’t want to just be on a team; I like to play,” he said. “If I’m not playing, it’s not serving a purpose. What purpose is it serving? I don’t want to feel like I’m selfish but you want to play.
“Hey, I still got years in me, I know that. I can still play some ball. I ain’t worried.”