ESPN analyst Craig James told a Dallas television station
Thursday that he is considering a run for Kay Bailey Hutchison's Senate seat when she vacates it later this year.
"I'm a Texan. I'm concerned for our country," he said. "I disagree with the approach that we're having, things that are taking place, and so whatever door opens up, I'll look at it, if and when it opens up." He describes himself as a conservative and says he is worried about government involvement in business and health care. "Why does the government have to be involved in everything we do?"
James has deep roots in Texas, especially in Texas football, where he enjoyed an illustrious high school and college football career. He was the star running back of Stratford High School's class 4A championship team in 1978, setting the all-time Texas 4A record for rushing yards in a season (2,411). As a freshman at Southern Methodist University, he teamed with quarterback Eric Dickerson to form the "Pony Express" backfield. In 1982, he scored a 96-yard touchdown reception that set a record as the longest scoring play in Southwestern Conference history.
James went on to play for the NFL's New England Patriots, where he was the last white player to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season, earning him the nickname "The Great White Hope."
After his retirement from football, he began working in television as a college sports broadcaster. James currently appears on ESPN's Thursday night football package, as well as the Saturday afternoon program "ESPN on ABC." He has covered college basketball and the Winter Olympics, beginning with local affiliates in Dallas and working his way to network prominence.
But James' recent noteworthy involvement with football has been controversial, which could affect his political chances in Texas.
Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach was fired Dec. 30 after James and his wife filed a complaint with the university amid allegations the coach mistreated their son, receiver Adam James, after the player suffered a concussion. Leach has denied he mistreated Adam James.
The controversy still hangs in the air. Sports Illustrated columnist Stewart Mandel wrote
that the showdown between Craig James and Leach puts both mens' "considerable reputations on the line," and that it is "going to get ugly."