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James, born and raised in Immokalee, is now among the 338 players picked as the game's greatest and elected to the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio Naples Daily News

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Edgerrin James will have to wait a little longer to be the first player from Collier County enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

James, a native of Immokalee, was voted into the Hall of Fame in February after being a finalist four previous times. He was supposed to get his gold jacket at the NFL’s enshrinement Aug. 8 in Canton, Ohio.

However, the NFL is postponing the induction ceremony because of the global coronavirus pandemic, an NFL official with direct knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports. The 2020 Hall of Fame class now will be enshrined with the 2021 class next summer.

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The official spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because it has not been announced. The Hall of Fame is expected to announce the decision on Thursday.

“(I’m) not disappointed at all,” James said in an email to the Naples Daily News. “It’s the right decision being made. With all that’s taking place right now with the pandemic and racial tensions, we can focus on those more important issues and get back to (the Hall of Fame) at an appropriate time.”

More: Edgerrin James elected to Hall of Fame in fourth time as finalist

After James finally got voted into Canton, he stressed the patience it took to be denied four times. When the 1996 Immokalee High School graduate found out he won’t get his official induction ceremony this summer, James again preached patience.

“Waiting is not an issue,” James wrote. “You want it to be right rather than rushed. I’ve always taken an easy-going approach to everything that comes my way. 

“Plus I’m already in, No. 336 (the number of players elected to the Hall of Fame). All the way from Immokalee, Florida, to Canton, Ohio.”

The NFL also expects to cancel its Hall of Fame Game, a preseason contest between the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers, scheduled for Aug. 6 in Canton.

ESPN first reported the postponements.

By moving his enshrinement back a year, James likely will get to share the Hall of Fame stage with his former quarterback. Peyton Manning becomes eligible in 2021 and is considered a first-ballot Hall of Famer. The two shared the Indianapolis Colts backfield from 1999-2005.

James, 41, posted pictures of him with Manning on his Instagram account Thursday. James also advocated for former Colts receiver Reggie Wayne to get into the Hall of Fame so all three could get be inducted together.

“Welp, P-Money… looks like we’ll be going in the HOF around the same time,” James posted. “Let’s get (Reggie Wayne) in there too just in case they wanna have a picup game. We’ll have the QB, RB & WR that already know the Colts’ system.”

Wayne was eligible for the first time this year. He was a finalist for the 2020 Hall of Fame class with James but was not elected.

James was a Parade All-American his senior year at Immokalee before spending three years at the University of Miami (1997-99) then being selected No. 4 overall by the Colts in the 1999 NFL Draft. He rushed for 12,246 yards in 11 seasons from 1999-2009 and ranks No. 13 on the NFL’s all-time rushing list.

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Former NFL All-Pro running back Edgerrin James was at Immokalee High on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018, to help UnitedHealthcare donate $20,000 to his alma mater.

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