Jamaal Charles thanks “best fan base in the world” in goodbye to NFL

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 16: Jamaal Charles
OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 16: Jamaal Charles /

Jamaal Charles took his last professional handoff as a player on Wednesday before retiring as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs.

For those who watched the greatness of Jamaal Charles closely during some of the leaner years in Kansas City Chiefs history, Wednesday provided a bit of an emotional response. Charles returned to the Chiefs after signing a one-day contract in order to retire with the team, and the Chiefs set up a ceremonial handoff of sorts, with Anthony Sherman blocking and Patrick Mahomes under center.

For just a second, Charles was back where he should be—not only with the franchise but behind the quarterback, lining up for another one of his jaw-dropping runs. It was a beautiful scene that not only closed the book on a record-setting career, but it also brought Charles back full circle to the fan base that had appreciated him so much.

Here’s a closer look at the scene at Arrowhead:

The Chiefs also put together this quick tribute video of Jamaal’s day back at Arrowhead, including moments with Andy Reid, some of the current players and more. Charles says, “[There are] so many people in this building that played a part in my success on the field. I wanted to come back and show my love to those people that showed love to me. I think it was only right to do it here.”

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Finally, Charles made his own statement on Instagram with a goodbye post, thanking not only the Chiefs but the University of Texas. It’s a reflection on an incredible 25 years of playing football at some level or another—including a tremendous run at the highest of levels in the NFL.

Charles retires as one of the greatest players to ever put on a Chiefs uniform. For a team drowning in great running backs in its history, Charles was the greatest of them all. Not only did he set the franchise record with 7,260 rushing yards but he also holds the all-time NFL record for running backs with most yards/carry with 5.4. If it wasn’t for misuse by coaches early on (who insisted that Thomas Jones earn the majority of carries) and some years lost to injury, Charles could have put up record-shattering totals on an NFL level.

It’s only a matter of time until the Chiefs induct Charles into their Ring of Honor. The four-time Pro Bowler will forever be immortalized by this franchise, and there’s a possibility a greater Hall of Fame could come calling at some point as well.