ENGLEWOOD - Perhaps the Kansas City Chiefs can get Jamaal Charles going again.
This time as an opponent.
As a running back in the second chapter of what has been a borderline Hall of Fame career, Charles has been trending the wrong way as a ball carrier with the Denver Broncos.
He peaked in game 3 at Buffalo, where he had 56 yards and a touchdown on 9 carries.
From there, Charles had 33 yards rushing on just 5 carries against Oakland; 19 yards on 5 carries against the New York Giants, and a measly 2 yards on 4 carries against the Los Angeles Chargers.
It wasn’t like that when Charles was healthy and playing for the Chiefs the previous nine years. He had seasons of 1,120 yards rushing, 1,467 yards, 1,509 yards, 1,287 yards and 1,033 yards before knee injuries thwarted his Pro Bowl production in his last two seasons of 2015-16 in Kansas City.
“I feel like I’ll always be a Chief,'' Charles said Thursday. "I talked to the Hunts, (owner) Mr. Clark Hunt and Andy Reid. When (former GM John) Dorsey was there I talked to them and they said we would love for you to come back and retire as a Chief.
"I have so much history going back there. Being drafted, making Pro Bowls and All-Pros and making the playoffs," he continued. "My wife’s cousin (Kasandra Perkins) even got killed there (by Chief player Jovan Belcher), so there’s a lot of sad memories and a lot of happy memories there, too. It’s a lot of stuff that’s back there that’s in my past.”
Charles is still recognized as the league’s all-time leader in career yards per carry with 5.43.
The Broncos play against Charles’ former team at Arrowhead Stadium on Monday.
“I hope they give my man the big-ole Jumbotron with all of his cold highlights from back in the day,'' said Broncos' starting running back C.J.Anderson. "He’ll get a little emotional so we can laugh at him, then he goes out there and do what he does best. He’s just doing it for blue and orange, not red and yellow.”
“He’s an amazing guy and I’m proud of him to come back and do what he’s doing,’’ Chiefs coach Andy Reid said in a conference call with the Denver media Thursday. “The thing when you really look at it, he’s going to go down as one of the all-time greats in the National Football League and definitely for the Kansas City Chiefs. I’m glad, with the exception of Monday night, I’m glad that Denver has an opportunity to see that first hand.
“He’s a good person. I know he’s not carrying it at the same load but you sure get a feel for what he’s all about.’’
While Charles’ play was inspiring early, his production has fallen off with the rest of the Broncos’ offense in recent weeks. He so far has earned $1.72 million with the Broncos as he’s notched six roster bonuses of $78,125 per game. But with only 239 combined yards rushing and receiving, he is not yet halfway to his first incentive threshold of 500 yards from scrimmage.
Reid had 350-pound defensive tackle Dontari Poe throw a jump pass for a touchdown against the Broncos in a Christmas Night game at Arrowhead last year.
He had another play this year where tight end Travis Kelce took the direct snap in a single wing-like formation with quarterback Alex Smith lined up behind Kelce and speedy receivers Tyreek Hill and De’Anthony Thomas lined up on Kelce’s flanks.
“When you watch Andy’s offense it’s a combination of the West Coast offense and also a college spread system,'' said Broncos' head coach Vance Joseph."It’s tough. He has a lot of personnel groups and he has a lot of weapons that he can use, from 10 (Hill) to 14 (Demarcus Robinson) to (Kareem])Hunt to Kelce. It’s a tough unit to get ready for, but you have to have a plan for all those units and it takes time to prepare for it. We use that extra Wednesday to do that, so we should be ahead of that.”
Reid is good for roughly one or two creative plays or formations a game.
“Well, (former Green Bay coach) Mike Holmgren told me a long time ago, don’t ever let them put you in a box,’’ Reid said. “So, I’m working on that. I’m old, but I’m still working on that. I give credit to Mike Nagy, a very creative guy, he’s the offensive coordinator. Between he and (assistant head coach) Brad Childress and myself, we’ve kind of muster up a couple things. We don’t have anything this week, but we come up with stuff before.’’
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