Jim lettered in football, basketball and baseball and was captain for football and basketball. He was an All-Lake Erie League selection as a linebacker. He was selected as the 1974 Outstanding Patriot Athlete.
His football skills led him to the University of Kentucky where he perfected his techniques at the SEC level.
Jim was drafted by and played for the New Orleans Saints. He was named to the All-NFC first team by UPI and was the Saints Most Valuable Player in 1983.
Jim earned his medical degree during the offseason. While with the San Francisco 49ers, he earned a law degree.