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Colts designate James their franchise player

INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 22, 2005) -- The Indianapolis Colts designated Edgerrin James their franchise player, taking another step toward keeping their high-scoring offense intact.

The Pro Bowl running back is a non-exclusive franchise player, which means James could accept a one-year deal from the Colts that would be a 20 percent raise from his salary last season, try to work out a long-term deal with the Indianapolis or sign with another team.

Indianapolis would have seven days to match another team's offer and would be compensated with two first-round draft choices if James leaves.

"The situation is fluid," team president Bill Polian said. "I don't know what we'll discuss."

The move was expected since Colts owner Jim Irsay announced in early December the team would "franchise" James to prevent him from becoming a restricted free agent. The decision was made possible by the early re-signings of record-setting wide receiver Marvin Harrison and right tackle Ryan Diem to lucrative, long-term deals.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2005, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

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