The Dallas Cowboys signed former linebacker Bradie James, allowing him a chance to retire as a member of the organization that drafted him.
“It’s fitting,” James said Tuesday at Valley Ranch, where owner Jerry Jones introduced him at a news conference. “Thankful for the experience and the journey that I had here; it was fun.”
James played nine years for the Cowboys, recording 1,009 tackles. He was the team’s leading tackler for six consecutive seasons, tying the team record, and he and Eugene Lockhart are the only players in team history with a 200-tackle season.
He spent his final season in the NFL with the Houston Texans in 2012 and made 105 tackles in 15 games to finish with 1,114 career tackles.
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“We did our best, and we put it all on the line,” he said. “To have an opportunity to come back and be regarded and retire as a Cowboy — it’s just a dream come true.”
James was a team captain his final five seasons in Dallas, including 2007, when the Cowboys went 13-3 and had their best shot at the Super Bowl in his career.
“It was the most talented team I had ever played on,” he said. “We had so much talent. We could really walk out there and just say, ‘Hey, we’re here. Let’s go get ’em.’ Because the three games that we did lose, I think that last game, we didn’t play the whole game. It was like we went 13-2.”
He smiled. “And the other two games that we lost, you know — I played linebacker, so some stuff I don’t remember as much.”
He said he remembers the camaraderie of that team, the first full season with Tony Romo as the starting quarterback and the first under head coach Wade Phillips.
“Not only were we talented, everybody came to play as far as getting along,” he said. “You got 61 guys and 20 coaches and other people. It’s not about getting along. It’s about achieving a goal on Sunday. I think that’s what, for the most part, we were able to do. We fell short. I hate that. But that’s the way it goes.”