Notable during the early 1990s as an NFL player for the Minnesota Vikings, he later signed with the Ford Modeling Agency and was featured in campaigns for the Avon, Hanes, and Fubu brands. In addition, he founded a New York-based charitable organization called Sean James Student Athletes.
He graduated from Missouri Southern State University, where he studied business and physical therapy; played football; and set track team records as a sprinter and long jumper.
In the 1990s, he modeled for the Phat Pharm urban preppy fashion line.
Born in Meridian, Mississippi, he spent his teenage years in Kansas, where he was a star running back on the Hutchinson High School football team, as well as an award-winning basketball player and track & field athlete. He later settled in New York City.
In early 2010, he and Olympian Al Joyner were featured in a Planned Parenthood television spot that sought to counter NFL quarterback Tim Tebow's pro-life Super Bowl message.