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Colts RB James agrees to one-year deal

INDIANAPOLIS (March 16, 2005) -- The Indianapolis Colts ' career rushing leader is staying put -- for now.

Former two-time NFL rushing champion Edgerrin James signed a one-year franchise offer, the Colts confirmed.

The move comes one week after Colts president Bill Polian told James' new agent, Drew Rosenhaus, that the Colts could not afford to sign James to a long-term contract. Rosenhaus has since tried to work out a deal after Polian told him the Colts would not require a first-round draft pick in exchange for the three-time Pro Bowler.

A message was left by The Associated Press at Rosenhaus' office.

James, 26, has said he wants a long-term deal, so a trade is still possible.

He is coming off his best season since tearing a ligament in his left knee in October 2001. James rushed for 1,548 yards and nine touchdowns, caught 51 passes for 483 yards and had a career-high average of 4.6 yards per carry last season.

The deal means Indianapolis could keep its triplets -- James, quarterback Peyton Manning and wide receiver Marvin Harrison -- together for a seventh straight year. Together, they have led Indianapolis to three division titles and five playoff appearances in six years. The only year the Colts missed the playoffs was 2001, when James missed the last 10 games.

Indianapolis already has a backup plan in case it does trade James.

In February, backup Dominic Rhodes signed a two-year deal. Rhodes rushed for 1,104 yards -- an NFL record for undrafted rookies -- when he replaced James in 2001, but since then only has seen spot duty because of shoulder and knee injuries.

James has rushed for 7,720 yards and 51 touchdowns, and caught 312 passes for 2,502 yards in six seasons. He has topped 2,000 yards from scrimmage in a season three times.

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