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LaMichael James destroyed on punt return (GIF)

LaMichael James was absolutely crushed by Ricardo Lockette on a punt return attempt to start the second quarter of the NFC Championship Game in Seattle on Sunday.

James muffed the punt return and was nailed by Lockette to the point that his helmet went flying off. Luckily the Niners jumped on the ball, so James’ error didn’t cost his team. They ended up scoring a touchdown on the drive to go up 10-0, so all worked out well … except for James’ health.

The poor guy was examined by doctors after the big hit. We hope he’s OK.

Here’s what it looked like after he got clotheslined:

LaMichael James punt return

GIF via @_MarcusD_

LaMichael James campaigns for Kenjon Barner to win Heisman Trophy

Oregon running back Kenjon Barner had a historic game on Saturday against USC and should now be in the Heisman Trophy race as a result. Just in case you don’t think he should be in the Heisman conversation, former Oregon running back and current 49ers back LaMichael James tweeted to remind you:

Barner, a senior from Riverside, Calif., ran for a school-record 321 yards in front of many close friends and family at the Coliseum in Oregon’s 62-51 win over the Trojans. His 321-yard performance broke James’ record 288-yard game accomplished last year against Arizona.

“I’m happy that he broke that record,” James said after the game. “I think he’s the best player in the country. I think he deserves the Heisman. He should be right up there with everybody else.”

Even though James lost that record, he is still the school’s career leading rusher with 4,973 yards and 53 touchdowns. James was able to attend the game because his 49ers are on their bye week. He hung out at an alumni tailgate before the contest, and then watched the game from the sidelines where he witnessed the spectacular performance.

Barner entered the game ranked 13th in the country in rushing yards, and tied for 8th in touchdowns. He’ll probably be in the top five in both categories after the big game. With Oregon undefeated, Barner has a legitimate shot at winning the Heisman Trophy. He needs to be in the conversation.

LaMichael James spent his draft day with Willie Lyles

The 49ers used the 61st pick of the NFL Draft on Friday to add Oregon’s LaMichael James to their crowded backfield. It was a big day (as evidenced by the logjam of messages on his phone) for James, and there to share the moment with him was none other than Willie Lyles, the very man at the center of the NCAA’s ongoing investigation into alleged recruiting violations by the Ducks football program.

Lyles has been a confidant to James even before he and the Ducks came into the NCAA’s crosshairs. Lyles accompanied LMJ to a college football awards show in 2010, calling himself a trainer and adviser. And on Friday, a story by The Register-Guard in Eugene about James being drafted used a photo showing the two together at LaMike’s draft party.

This shouldn’t be surprising to close followers of Oregon football. James has always said positive things about his relationship with Lyles, even while the media and Ducks fans were hammering the so-called “street agent.” “Him and me are really close,” the running back said last year. “I talk to him all the time. He has never steered me wrong or given me bad advice.” That tone didn’t change when James addressed fans who wondered about Lyles being at the party:

Somewhere Chip Kelly is cringing.

Photo credit: Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE

LaMichael James Gets Scared on Space Mountain Roller Coaster (Picture)

Oregon running back LaMichael James is one of the tougher cats in the country, but he was no match for the intimidating coaster that is Space Mountain.

The Ducks are in Southern California to play in the Rose Bowl against Wisconsin and have been checking out the sites. They went to Disneyland Tuesday, and teammate Kenjon Barner tweeted that picture of James freaking out on the ride.

For being such a tough guy, LaMichael is a bit of a wimp. That ride is slower than a Jamie Moyer fastball and has less movement than a hanging curve. Come on LaMichael!

Picture Credit: Kenjon Barner on Twitter
Helmet knock Kegs ‘N Eggs

LaMichael James Dislocated His Elbow, Popped it Back in, Won’t Take Medicine

LaMichael James may be my new favorite player in college football. The Oregon running back went for 239 yards on 30 carries Thursday night in a 43-15 win over Cal. It marked his third straight 200-yard game, but that’s not the part that left us impressed. No, it was the way James reacted to a gruesome injury that left us captivated.

Early in the fourth quarter, James went down and saw his elbow bend backwards (captured in the image above via Mock Session). James, who dislocated his elbow in high school, immediately popped the contorted limb back into place. X-rays were negative, and James says he plans to continue playing this season.

“It’s not a season-ending injury and I’ll be fine,” he said after the game. “I’m tough. I’m a warrior and I’m never going to quit on my team.”

When he says he’s tough, he really means it. The Texas native says he doesn’t do well with medicine, so he’s going to tough out the injury without it. What a stud, huh?

LaMichael James: We Need to Avoid the Hype, Stay Focused

Oregon running back LaMichael James made an appearance on ESPN in advance of the Heisman Trophy ceremony. His team plays Auburn in the National Championship Game on Monday, January 10th, and he was essentially asked for the key to victory. His response was one a coach would love to hear.

“Can’t believe the outside hype,” James said. “Can’t get caught up in the media watching ESPN everyday listening to people tell you that you’re all high and mighty and all great, so you have to stay focused and keep grinding each day. That hard work really pays off.”

James leads the country in rushing yards with 1,682 and touchdowns with 21, but he is expected to finish second in Heisman Trophy balloting behind Cam Newton. The good news is James says he’s more concerned with winning the national championship than the Heisman, something he has a better shot of taking home.

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LaMichael James Was Investigated for His Range Rover, Reportedly Cleared

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a Heisman Trophy candidate has been investigated by the NCAA. This time around instead of Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, it was Oregon running back LaMichael James. The Williamette Week, via CBS Sports, says James was investigated by the NCAA this month for driving a new car.

James had been seen tooling around in a white 2003 Range Rover recently. He apparently acquired the car in a swap with Pernell Brown, who described himself as James’ uncle. Brown is a local gang-outreach worker who is a friend of the family.

According to Brown, “James told him someone was stalking him and leaving notes on his car—a red 2000 Ford Mustang with James’ initials and his jersey number, 21, affixed to the side window.” Naturally, Brown offered to switch cars with him. Makes plenty of sense, right?

Apparently the NCAA bought the story. Oregon media relations man Dave Williford told the Williamette Week that “To my understanding, they think everything is fine.” Right, because that story doesn’t sound at all strange. All I want to know is why UCLA didn’t come up with that story when DeShaun Foster was busted in 2001 for his Expedition.