Former Auburn, Chargers Running Back Lionel James Dies at 59

Obit Lionel James Football

FILE – Auburn’s Lionel James, (6) gains yardage as Michigan’s Dave Meredith (96) tries to stop him in NCAA college football Sugar Bowl action in New Orleans, Jan. 2, 1984. (AP Photo/File)

Former Auburn and San Diego Chargers running back Lionel James has died after a lengthy illness. He was 59.

Auburn says James, a 5-foot-6 player nicknamed “Little Train,” died Friday.

James played five seasons with the Chargers, who have since moved to Los Angeles, after being drafted in the fifth round in 1984.

He set an NFL record with 2,535 all-purpose yards in 1985 after leading the Chargers in rushing, receiving and kickoff and punt return yardage.

He led the AFC in receptions that season with 86 while setting the NFL record for receiving yards by a running back.

James was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.

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