May 25, 1962|
|Height:||5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)|
|Weight:||171 lb (78 kg)|
|High school:||Albany (GA) Dougherty|
|NFL Draft:||1984 / Round: 5 / Pick: 118|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at PFR|
Lionel "Little Train" James (born May 25, 1962) is a former professional American football player who was selected by the San Diego Chargers in the 5th round of the 1984 NFL Draft. Undersized at 5 feet 6 inches (1.68 m) and 171 pounds (78 kg), James played running back at Auburn University where he shared the backfield with Bo Jackson. James would be a part of the 1983 SEC Champion and Sugar Bowl champion team. He spent his entire 5-year NFL career with the Chargers from 1984-1988. His best year as a pro came during the 1985 season when he set the then-NFL season records for receiving yards by a running back and all-purpose yardage. He also led the AFC in receptions that year.
In 1985, James set the NFL record for all purpose yards in a season with 2,535 yards. He also set the record for receiving yards by a running back with 1,027 yards, while also leading the AFC in receptions with 86. On November 10, 1985, he had his best day as a pro versus the Los Angeles Raiders. He gained 345 all-purpose yards including a career best 168 yards receiving and scored the winning touchdown in a 40–34 overtime victory. The total yardage was second at the time only to the 373 yards by Billy Cannon in 1961, and remains a Chargers franchise record. He might have broken the record in an earlier game that season against the Cincinnati Bengals except for a Chargers penalty that cost him 89 yards of a 100-yard kickoff return. James finished that game with 316 yards.
References and notes
- Neville, David (March 31, 2003). "Little Big Man". chargers.com. San Diego Chargers. Archived from the original on February 3, 2011. Retrieved February 3, 2011.
- Janofsky, Michael (November 12, 1985). "Smallest Player Aims For Biggest Gain". The New York Times. Retrieved August 25, 2011.
- Lahman, Sean (2008). The Pro Football Historical Abstract: A Hardcore Fan's Guide to All-Time Player Rankings. Globe Pequot. p. 119. ISBN 978-1-59228-940-0. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
- "NFL Single-Season All-Purpose Yards Leaders". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved August 26, 2011.