Hail to the king: Jamaal Charles returns to Kansas City
On Monday night the former king of running the football returns to Kansas City. But not in the capacity that was hoped for at one point. No, Jamaal Charles pays a visit to us instead as a member of the Denver Broncos.
It’s been almost eight months since the Kansas City Chiefs cut Jamaal Charles loose. The memory of that day still hangs with many. Had John Dorsey, the former general manager, gone insane? That was Jamaal freaking Charles he just released! The world may never get an official story explaining what the thinking was behind that move, but that is okay. We can still speculate.
Charles and injuries
Looking back at the last two or three seasons that Charles played with the Chiefs, the injury factor comes to mind. Charles tore his ACL six weeks into the 2015 season after starting off fairly well. Amassing 541 yards and a 5.5 yard per carry average, the early end for that season cost him dearly. Upon his return for the 2016 season, the injured leg was aggravated and Charles was again out for the year. Head coach Andy Reid turned to Spencer Ware and Alex Smith to cover for the loss of Charles.
For the limited time that he was back, Reid was lambasted for not using Charles enough and leaning on a seemingly incompetent passing offense to score points. This tactic came back to haunt him in more than one instance. Then, when it seemed the clouds were clearing and Charles looked to be getting healthy and ready to play again, he was set free.
Charles is now 30 years old, running into the fabled cutoff point where running backs trend down in their production. Fortunately for the star back, one team was willing to take a chance on him. That team was the Broncos. Many in Chiefs Kingdom were happy for Charles but also felt a bit betrayed that he had gone and joined a division rival. This was a good way to rub salt in the wound just in case the Chiefs ended up missing Charles once the season began.
His time with the Broncos has seen limited field appearances, but for what he’s given, Charles has made good out of it. His stats for the season total 42 rushes for 196 yards and one touchdown. The Broncos coaching staff have been smart and given him limited snaps and it would seem that is paying off for them a bit.
Since his departure…
In the wake of Charles’ release, the team signed veteran C.J. Spiller to help bolster the backfield. Spiller wouldn’t hang around very long and was put through a revolving door of being cut and signed over and over again. The NFL Draft saw a man named Kareem Hunt join the team and when Ware went down to injury, Hunt stepped up big time. Currently, Hunt sits at 124 carries for 717 yards and four touchdowns. Add in his pass catching numbers of 25 catches for 285 yards and two scores, Hunt is having a truly historical rookie season.
Through seven weeks, Hunt now has over 1,000 yards from scrimmage. It’s already been a good year for Hunt, statistically speaking, and it’s not even halfway over.
Handling Charles’s return
When Charles enters Arrowhead again, Chiefs Kingdom should stand and cheer. Give our old game-breaking star the honor and respect he deserves for slugging it out with teams below his level. Then, root for the Chiefs to win like any other game. Don’t wish more injury on him but let’s make him regret picking a division rival over someone else or retirement.
How lucky are we Addicts? We go from one running back who will go down in NFL history as the most efficient ball carrier with a career average of 5.5 yards per carry, to a running back who is rewriting the history books? This is an incredible time to be a Chiefs fan.
There will be tons of emotion in Monday night’s game. Some positive and some negative. At the end of the day, it is just a game. Charles deserves our respect but also should be feel regret at joining the enemy. As things stand, we no longer need him on our roster. If he wants to retire as a Chief, I am honored to have him come back for that.
How do you feel about Charles? Are you glad he’s back? Still bitter over the betrayal? As always, thanks for reading and Go Chiefs!