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Former Auburn Star, Chargers RB Lionel James Died Friday at 59

Former Auburn and Chargers running back Lionel “Little Train” James died on Friday.

James was 59 years old and had been dealing with a “lengthy illness,” according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. James stood at just five feet and six inches, which is in part how he got his nickname.

James played on Auburn’s football team from 1980 to 1983. He played in 44 games for the Tigers, totaling over 2,000 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns.

Former Auburn quarterback Randy Campbell told the Auburn official website what James meant to him.

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“Lionel was a special person,” Campbell said. “Thoughtful, kind, caring and the ultimate team player. He led by example and made everyone around him a better football player.”

In 1984, the San Diego Chargers drafted James with a fifth-round pick. He played five total seasons with the franchise, and he made his mark as both a wide receiver and running back, tallying more yard receiving than rushing. James tallied 231 total rushes and 209 receptions in 67 games, and he led the league in returns and return yards as a rookie with 43 kick returns for 959 yards.

In 1985, James totaled 105 rushes and 86 receptions for San Diego. That season, James accumulated over 1500 scrimmage yards, and led the league in yards per touch with 8.1 and in all-purpose yards with 2,543.

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