With former Cowboys linebacker Bradie James headed to Houston to join up with Wade Phillips' bunch with the Texans, the question popped into my head:
Just what kind of career did Bradie James have with the Cowboys?
It's not actually an easy one to answer. Obviously, one of the first questions that get asked about former players is the amount of Pro Bowls. In James' case, there were a few seasons where he was an alternate, but he never made it to Hawaii. It didn't help that Brian Urlacher was in the NFC for his entire career, and then guys like Jon Beason and Patrick Willis came along to become Pro Bowl staples.
Then again, Pro Bowls are usually linked for great players.
In my opinion, Bradie James was a really good player, and probably much better than he was ever credited for.
James was good because he was constant. He played a bruising position and he stayed on the field – playing in all but two games during his career. Since his rookie season when he was deactivated for the first two weeks of the year, James has played in 142 straight games. He was a part of some good defenses – some not so good – but either way he was leading the charge. Before James, no Cowboys player ever led the team in tackles for more than three straight seasons.
James did it six straight years, up until last season.
Who knows, maybe Sean Lee will one day break that streak. But he's got a long ways – and a lot of collisions to go.
The fact is, Bradie James leaves the Cowboys with the fifth-most tackles in franchise history. He's in a selected group of five players with at least 1,000 tackles – his 1,009 rank behind Darren Woodson, Randy White, Dexter Coakley and Ed Jones.
Obviously three of those guys were considered great Cowboys and Coakley – with his three Pro Bowls – was somewhere in between good and great.
Like fans typically do, players often get ridiculed on their way out the door. Happened with Flozell Adams, Marion Barber and Terence Newman. Even happened with Emmitt Smith and let's not forget Troy Aikman once got booed at Texas Stadium.
My point is, we can talk about the end of James' tenure with the Cowboys when he wasn't a huge factor for the 2011 season, but his nine years in Dallas were overly productive.
And he's got the stats to prove it - just not the Pro Bowls.