KUSA—Heaven knows, Jamaal Charles isn't doing this for the money.
At 30 years old, his knees ravaged by two ACL tears, Charles is continuing his NFL career by signing a one-year contract with the Denver Broncos for the minimum (for players with nine years of service) $900,000 salary, plus a $100,000 workout bonus. The former star running back of the AFC West rival Kansas City Chiefs, Charles can make up to $3.75 million if he hits roster bonuses and incentives. Still, this is the ultimate prove-it deal.
“Everybody is different,'' Charles said in a conference call with the Denver media. "I’m not like everybody else. At the end of the day, I’m still alive. It’s not about money. It’s not what you see, it’s what you don’t see. A lot of people see me (being done). I see me going out there, helping the team win and helping the team get to the playoffs and get to the Super Bowl. That’s what I see. I see things that are just in my fate.”
The former star running back of the AFC West Division rival Kansas City Chiefs, Charles took a physical exam and met with several coaches during his visit Tuesday to UCHealth Training Center. Of notable concern is the ACL tears that Charles suffered and were surgically repaired in 2011 and again in 2015.
There were complications from his second ACL surgery, forcing him to miss most of the 2016 season.
“I just wasn’t ready last year,'' Charles said. "I didn’t tear my ACL. I just went in there and got it cleaned up on my meniscus. That’s what it was. I wasn’t ready last year. If you go to my website, I’ll tell you the story of what happened. I just wasn’t ready.”
His website revealed his knee locked up first while making a cut during some extra work after practice, and again while playing with his daughter. http://www.jamaalcharles25.com/2017/01/09/the-here-and-now/
Dr, James Andrews, the noted surgeon who has repaired Charles' oft-injured knee, has cleared the running back to practice, although the Broncos are planning to proceed cautiously. Charles is considered 90 percent recovered from his most recent surgery. The Broncos are expected to wait until he's 100 percent before turning him loose, which will likely be closer to training camp in late-July. He will join the team Monday.
Charles was born and raised in Port Arthur, Texas, the same town that produced Broncos Ring of Famer Austin "Goose" Gonsoulin.
When healthy, Charles has been one of the NFL’s top running backs as he has five seasons of at least 1,000 yards rushing and four seasons of at least 40 catches out of the backfield.
If all goes well, Charles can serve a Ronnie Hillman-type role with the Broncos and share carries with C.J. Anderson.
"It's a great signing,'' Anderson said. "We definitely need what he brings. We definitely need his home run ability, for sure.''
The two will compete to see who gets the 1A role.
“I just love C.J. Anderson’s game,'' Charles said. "He’s powerful and he’s fast. He is physical and he breaks tackles. Just playing with a guy like that, I just want to come in here and help the team with my explosiveness. I want to come up and play for each other and push each other to get better. That’s the goal at the end of the day. Now we’re on the same team, so we’re going to try and push each other to get to the one goal, and that’s another Super Bowl.”
Second-year back Devontae Booker would be the No. 2 running back until Charles is ready. Thee Broncos also selected running back De'Angelo Henderson in the sixth round of the NFL Draft on Saturday.
It appears quarterback won't be the Broncos only competitive position during training camp.
Anderson is coming off his own season-ending knee surgery, although his was a meniscus injury and he appears to be close to 100 percent recovered.
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