In 2010, Jamaal Charles nearly broke Jim Brown’s record for average yards per-carry in a single NFL season.
If not for his last carry of the season, which went for a loss, Charles would have broken the record. Instead, he had to settle for a tie.
In 2012, Charles could be poised to do something very special. The former Longhorn has averaged 6.1 yards per-carry in his 499 attempts in the NFL. He’s explosive, elusive and now, he’s hungry.
You see, Charles only got 12 carries last season before tearing his ACL and landing on the sidelines for the rest of the year. Despite KC’s horrendous start, Charles appeared to be picking up right where he left off in 2010. He averaged 6.9 yard per-carry with those 12 touches.
Now, after a year of rehab, Charles is looking to take his place at the top of the mountain of NFL backs.
“When I touch that field again, you’re going to feel my pain,” Charles told the Kansas City Star in May. “You’re going to go through what I went through. It’s going to be that way for me the rest of my career.”
There are concerns of course. It has been a long time since Charles was on the field and the Chiefs will surely handle him with care throughout the preseason. Still, there were once questions about how another Chiefs back, Priest Holmes, would respond after dealing with a hip injury. Holmes responded the following season by breaking the then NFL record for rushing touchdowns by a running back with 27.
“If you’re worrying about me not being the same, just look out for me this year,” Charles said. “I’m hungry. I want it this year. I’ve got the passion for it. I just can’t wait to play football. I can’t wait to bring stuff back to this community and show them how much we can win. I feel like this is a year for us that we can go all the way. I’m saying that because I feel it in me that I can bring a lot to the team this year, being bigger, stronger and maybe even faster.”
Charles could very well respond in the same manner as Holes. We’re not talking about a back with a long injury history or with age concerns. Jamaal Charles is just 25 years old. His body is going to be healed and rested and his legs will be as fresh as they’ve been in years. As noted earlier, Charles has just 499 career carries. He is just scratching the surface of his potential.
Other factors are going to help Charles in 2012. He’ll have a strong backfield mate in Peyton Hillis. The Charles/Hillis combo should be even more effective and dynamic than the 2010 tandem of Charles and an aging Thomas Jones. The rest of the offense is greatly improved as well. The Chiefs have more receiving threats and will sport the most talented offensive line Charles has ever had the pleasure of running behind. All of these things should add up to more offensive plays for the Chiefs and more chances for explosive runs by Charles.
Think on that for a second. Jamaal Charles is going to have more space and better blocking than ever before in 2012. It isn’t out of the realm of possibility that he could average over 6.5 yards per-carry.
What do you think Addicts? Will Jamaal Charles set the NFL world on fire in 2012?