Update: ESPN’s Craig James Running for US Senate
Former star running back Craig James ran for a lot of yardage and touchdowns in high school, college and professional football. Since he retired from playing in 1989, he’s made a living as a sports analyst on CBS and ESPN, but now he wants to take his “running” abilities to the next level.
James has quit his TV job and he’s running for the US Senate.
College football analyst Craig James, who starred as a tailback at Southern Methodist University and with the New England Patriots in the 1980s, left ESPN on Monday and entered the Republican race for the U.S. Senate seat that will be vacated when incumbent Kay Bailey Hutchison retires at the end of the current term.
James says he’s running as a conservative outsider who has transformed himself from poor kid to successful businessman.
“Washington is busted up, and I understand how the economy works because I have been concerned about continuing to provide jobs in this economy, not 10 years ago, not 15, not 20 years ago. I live in this economy, I get it,” James told The Associated Press.
“We need someone from what I call real street, this is what separates me (from the other candidates).”
Craig James is a legendary but controversial and polarizing personality in Texas. He drew national attention as an all purpose back at Stratford High School in Houston, and went on to star at SMU in the late 1970s and early 1980s — at the same time when Governor Bill Clements was approving payments to players in his capacity as Chairman of SMU’s Board of Trustees.
The resulting scandal led to total suspension of SMU’s football program — the famous “death penalty.” Many people have never forgiven James for his role in that sorry saga.
In a recent ESPN documentary, James was smugly coy when asked if he ever took illegal inducements during his recruitment or college career. He should be ready to answer that question on the campaign trail, because it will surely come up.
James also was involved in the more recent firing of Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach in a dispute over how James’ son Adam was treated on the team. There was an allegation that Leach forced Adam James to stand in a shed for two hours after suffering a concussion in practice. Reporters will also want to know more about that incident.
In either case, James shouldn’t expect to get many votes in Dallas and Lubbock.