ESPN football analyst Craig James runs for Senate

By JIM VERTUNO | December 19, 2011 | 12:52 PM EST

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — ESPN college football analyst Craig James is leaving the broadcast booth to run for the U.S. Senate in Texas.

James's close friend and fundraiser Roy Bailey said Monday that James will run as a Republican for the seat being vacated by Kay Bailey Hutchison.

Though James' name recognition could be an advantage, it also could hurt him.

In the 1980s, he was a member of the Southern Methodist University football team when the program entered a series of scandals that forced the NCAA to shut it down.

In 2009, he became embroiled in Texas Tech University's firing of football coach Mike Leach over allegations Leach mistreated James' son after he suffered a concussion.

James signed with the New England Patriots before the 1985 season. He retired from football in 1989.