The arrival of running back Jamaal Charles is a big deal in Denver.
But his departure from the Chiefs has shaken the sports core of Kansas City.
So says Broncos pass-rushing linebacker Shane Ray, who should know. He was born and raised in Kansas City. He has “Kansas City” tattooed on the inside of his right elbow and the Chiefs’ KC logo painted on his left shoulder.
“Oh man, everybody is sick back home,’’ Ray said Wednesday. “They’re all sick. I mean I can’t tell you how many calls I’ve got: ‘Nooo, not Jamaal Charles, man.’
“For us it’s a great addition. Second to Priest Holmes, Jamaal Charles is probably one of the greatest running backs in Chiefs' history so to acquire him and his playmaking abilities adds a completely different dynamic to our offense.’’
Ray was a kid when Holmes was the Chiefs’ star which is probably why he gave Priest his No. 1 love. Truth is, Charles is the Chiefs’ all-time leading rusher. He had five, 1,000-yard rushing seasons to Holmes’ three.
The last time Charles was on the field with the Broncos, Bradley Roby was picking up his fumble and returning it for a touchdown in the final seconds of a stunning Broncos victory in the Broncos’ championship season of 2015 at Arrowhead Stadium.
“When we played against him, I thought he was one of the best backs in the league if not the best,’’ Roby said. “Just watched the film against him and played against him and felt his presence, things like that, I thought he was the best. So I think it’s a great pick up.
“I also don’t want Bronco fans getting me mixed up. I know the dreads, people wanted to call me Omar (Bolden) back in the day and (David) Bruton. I hope they can see the difference.’’
One warning to Broncos’ fans: A big name does not necessarily mean he is still a big-time player. There was buzz around here in 1988 when the Broncos picked up Tony Dorsett, the former Dallas Cowboys’ great. The Broncos went 8-8 and Dorsett had a very average 703 yards. Sammy Winder could have done that.
The Chiefs let go of Charles and kept Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware.
Not that the Chiefs are the be-all to player evaluation. The Broncos have been to the Super Bowl eight times since the Chiefs made their last appearance in 1969. But the Chiefs did break the Broncos' stranglehold on the AFC West last year and if Denver is regain its division title, it's hoping pilfering a star from the enemy will help.