Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Bradie James playing through pain
By Calvin Watkins
IRVING -- Bradie James is nearing the end of his eighth season and it's been a struggle from a physical standpoint yet he continues to play well.
James has been playing with a sprained PCL in his right knee the last three months that has limited him in practices. That same injury knocked running back Felix Jones and former safety Pat Watkins out of some games in previous seasons.
"You can look at it two ways, I'm toughing some stuff out," James said after Tuesday's walkthrough practice in which he wasn't a participant. "But we had an early bye week and I sprained my PCL right after that. Most guys don't play but I've been playing the whole year, that's just it."
And despite the injury, James has yet to miss any games. He's started all 14 games this season and started 94 consecutive games, the second longest streak among inside linebackers. Washington's London Fletcher has currrently started 165 games.
James also has played in 124 consecutive games, third most among active inside linebackers. Fletcher has played in 206 straight games and James' current teammate, Keith Brooking is currently on a 158 game playing streak.
According to the team statistics, James has a team-leading 146 total tackles and if that holds up it would mark the sixth consecutive year he's led the Cowboys in total tackles.
Bob Breuing and Eugene Lockhart led the Cowboys in total tackles four times each and Dat Nguyen did it three times.
"It's been tough because we hadn't won and we put a lot of work into this thing," James said of leading the team in tackles. "But my job is to go out there and play and be consistent. It's a big time feat to lead the team in tackles for six straight years, that's just my opinion. What we really want to do is go out there and win that's what really matters."
The last three seasons, James has finished in the Top 10 among NFC defensive players. According to NFL stats, which compiles tackles from box scores, James has 106 total tackles, good for eighth in the conference this season.
It would seem that James is slowing down, but that hasn't been the case this year for a veteran player who turns 30 on Jan. 17.
James has had seven games where he's compiled at least a double-digit tackle total and picked up at least five solo tackles 11 times in 2010.
There are a few constants with the defense: DeMarcus Ware, Marcus Spears, Jay Ratliff, Terence Newman and James in terms of length of playing time with the club.
Consistency is something that interim coach Jason Garrett cares about and that's what he has in James.
"He's just a good football player," Garrett said. "He's certainly one of the leaders of our defense. He comes to play every day in practice. He comes to play in the game. He's been forturnate to have some veteran players playing next to him and he's typically made up part of being a good tandem."