By Danny Cox
CBS Local Sports presents 32 Players in 32 Days, a daily feature focusing on one impact player from each NFL team.
Name: Jamaal Charles – RB – #25
Weight: 199 lbs.
Hometown: Port Arthur, TX
Experience: 7 years
Since being drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2008, running back Jamaal Charles has had five 1,000-yard seasons and had 230 or more attempts in three seasons. He does nothing but get on that football field and work for every single yard, score, and then some. It’s no surprise that he was rewarded with a two-year contract extension in 2014.
In high school in Port Arthur, Texas, Charles racked up huge numbers, especially in his junior and senior seasons.
Through his junior season, he amassed 2,051 yards and 25 touchdowns, and he almost totally matched it during his senior season in which he ran for 2,056 yards and 25 touchdowns. These performances led to him being named the District 22-5A Player of the Year for both seasons.
Many people don’t realize it, but Jamaal Charles was a standout track star as well. He won the bronze medal in the 400m hurdles at the 2003 World Youth Championships in Athletics. He also went on to win both the 110m hurdles and 300m hurdles at the Texas 5A state championships.
As a true freshman at the University of Texas, Charles had 119 rushing attempts for 878 yards and 11 touchdowns. The Longhorns went on to win the national championship that season. His sophomore season brought about a bit of a slump for Charles, and that resulted in his decision to drop track and field so that he could focus primarily on football.
Once his junior season was over, Charles had rushed for over 1,400 yards, and that includes a 290-yard rushing performance against Nebraska in October of 2007. And 216 of those yards came during the fourth quarter alone and earned him the fan voted AT&T All-America Player of the Week.
Jamaal Charles originally stated he would return to Texas for his senior season, but his mind changed and decided to forgo it and enter the 2008 NFL Draft. For just three seasons, one of which was lackluster, Charles still ranks fourth on the school’s all-time rushing yards list.
In the 2008 NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs selected Jamaal Charles with the 73rd pick of the third round. Many thought that he would fall by the wayside as he ended up third on the depth chart behind Larry Johnson and Kolby Smith. His rookie season ended with just 357 yards rushing and 272 yards receiving, but he was just getting started.
At the beginning of 2009, the Chiefs released Larry Johnson and promoted Jamaal Charles to first-string as he was to split carries with Kolby Smith. Splitting carries didn’t hinder his production as he rushed for 1,120 yards on just 190 carries and had seven touchdowns.
Over the span of his career, Charles has shone brighter and brighter each year. The one exception was 2011, in which he suffered a devastating ACL injury in just the second week of the season causing him to miss the remainder. Bouncing back in 2012, he had the best single-season of his career with over 1,500 yards on the ground.
In 2013, he had over 1,200 rushing yards, close to 700 receiving yards and 19 total touchdowns. The 2014 season is expected to be even bigger for Charles, even though some feel he is already winding down.
The Kansas City Chiefs don’t feel that way at all, and they have all the faith in their workhorse running back and that he will be front and center in leading them to the playoffs yet again.
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.