About those older NFL running backs

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Jon Rand's story about Larry Johnson's prospects in Kansas City past age 30 got me thinking about decisions teams face with older running backs.

The Cardinals' Edgerrin James is the only NFC West halfback in his 30s. He almost certainly will not return for another season in Arizona.

The second-oldest halfback in the division, 28-year-old T.J. Duckett, is not an every-down runner. He's built more like a fullback and he spent last season as a short-yardage specialist.

The two best backs in the division -- the Rams' Steven Jackson and the 49ers' Frank Gore -- are 25 years old. And we all know what happened to Shaun Alexander as he approached 30.

By my count, NFL teams feature only 10 halfbacks in their 30s: James, Ricky Williams (Dolphins), Thomas Jones (Jets), Sammy Morris (Patriots), Fred Taylor (Patriots), Kevin Faulk (Patriots), Kenny Watson (Bengals), Correll Buckhalter (Broncos), LaMont Jordan (Broncos) and Michael Bennett (Chargers).

Three of the 10 play for the Patriots and five of the 10 are in the AFC East.