On Thursday night, Kansas City Chiefs runningback Jamaal Charles was revealed as the 20th-ranked player on NFL Network’s “Top 100 Players of 2013″ list. He joins four of his teammates who were also honored: Justin Houston (#49), Derrick Johnson (#59), Dwayne Bowe (#65), and Brandon Flowers (#75). This is quite the distinction for a player who missed fourteen games in 2011 due to a season-ending ACL injury.
Charles rebounded in 2012, finishing the season as the NFL’s 4th-leading rusher (1,509 rushing yards). He became one of only three players (joining Barry Sanders and Chris Johnson) to have three runs of 80 yards or more in a single season. Charles also had the third-highest yards per carry average of any back in the NFL with at least 250 carries (5.3).
Five players on NFLN’s Top 100 list is an impressive haul, but underlines the tragedy of one of the worst seasons in franchise history. The Chiefs are undeniably talented (they sent six to Honolulu for the Pro Bowl), but were handicapped by some of the worst coaching and quarterback play in recent memory. The new-look Chiefs have a new front office, coaching staff, and quarterback, but they’ll need another special performance from Jamaal Charles to be competitive in the AFC West and in the conference.
The Kingdom is clamoring for more than individual honors but raise your glasses for now, Addicts! These honors suggest the franchise has a real foundation to continue to build upon.