LaMichael James Stays Upbeat in Backup Role


This week in Greater London, LaMichael James has found himself sitting up at 2 and 3 a.m, checking his phone.

The second-year running back has also been biding his time much of this season.

James has been inactive on gamedays the past two weeks, and he is no sure bet to play on Sunday, when the 49ers "visit" the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium, as part of the NFL's International Series.

"It's just a numbers game," said James, who has 31 rushing yards on seven carries this year. "If you look at the situation we're in, Kendall (Hunter) doesn't get many carries, and we've got defensive linemen hurt so we've got to carry an extra one. I've just got to be a team player."

The 2012 second-round pick is used to being inactive; he has dressed for just six of the team's 23 games in his career. He said the coaches don't explain him to his status each week, nor do they need to.

"The writing's on the wall. You know the situation if you just look at it," James said. "I'm a professional now. I know how the game works, and that's how I take it.

"Obviously, I have to keep my confidence. If I'm not self-motivated or have confidence in my self, I'll be setting myself up for failure. I don't want to be that guy."

As a result of being relegated to the sideline, James has ceded his punt-returning duties to wideout Kyle Williams, whom James called a "great returner."

Still, giving his teammates a good look as a scout team player in practice isn't what NFL players dream of doing. They want to play on Sundays.

"At times, it can be" frustrating, James said. "It depends on your perspective of it. Sometimes you have to look at it on a positive note. You look at it too much on a negative note, you'll be upset all the time. I don't want to be upset all the time.

"No matter when my number is called, I feel like I can go out there and make plays."


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