James, an undrafted free agent from Miami, was signed last week by the Patriots, and one report Wednesday indicated he'd be added to the 53-man roster to take Maroney's spot. Yet, nothing has been made official just yet, and the team isn’t required to make a roster addition until game time.
Either way, James has enjoyed his brief stay in New England for a number of reasons, even if he hadn’t yet been told he was receiving a promotion as of Wednesday morning.
"I just focus on going out here, playing my role," James said. "I'm on the practice squad, so my role is to go out here and give the defense the best look possible. That’s all I'm focused on right now."
James is the cousin of former Colts running back Edgerrin James, so he's been groomed for this stage for quite some time now. And after the Colts parted ways with the younger James earlier this month, the elder was glad to see him latch on with a former rival.
"He just told me the Patriots were a good organization, and he's happy that I'm here," Javarris James said.
James is excited to learn from a group of running backs who have such a wide range of experience. Fred Taylor (12 seasons), Kevin Faulk (11) and Sammy Morris (10) have 33 combined years of NFL service, and they're all well-respected veterans who are more than happy to help James grow within the system.
"That’s a lot of experience," said James, who grew up a 49ers fan. "I'm the youngest guy in the room. I'm the only rookie. It's kind of an advantage for me because I get to learn from guys who have been in this league for a long time and have been playing at a high level. I've been in their ears, always asking questions. Those guys have been bringing me in like a little brother. They always give me feedback. If they see me in practice doing something wrong, they'll come coach me up. I feel like I'm lucky."
James, who is more about power and reads than speed — which essentially makes him a very different player than Maroney — is ecstatic to join up with Taylor. James grew up about 45 minutes from Taylor's hometown, and he has followed the Florida legend's career since Day 1.
"Back home, everybody knew Freddy T. He's a legend," James said. "Just to be in the same backfield as him, that’s an honor."
And once again, James will be facing comparisons to other backs. He grew up as Edgerrin's little cousin, and now he's the guy who (if the reports are accurate) will take Maroney's spot and play some established veterans. In a way, it's similar to what he went through at Miami, where he was the next one up in a long line of proven running backs, including the likes of Willis McGahee, Clinton Portis and Frank Gore.
"I grew up to realize and understand what it's like to be in my cousin's shoes," said James, who finished his collegiate career with 2,162 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns. "But I'm my own man, so I'm not going to go out and try to do the things that he did. For UM, just to be considered a running back coming from that school, you've got a certain swag and a certain way you do things. You've got to make sure you continue the tradition. There's a little pressure, as far as being a running back from Miami, but it's a great thing."
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