Jamaal Charles doesn't seem concerned about turning 29-years-old this year. In fact, the Kansas City Chiefs offensive star says he's planning on playing another six seasons.
The typical career of the average NFL player is just over seasons. That number falls to 2.57 seasons for running backs. Over the seasons, the number will change with various studies, but the consistent turnover at the position is an understood reality from year-to-year in the NFL.
However, Charles is hardly your typical NFL running back. As one of the top talents in the game, the Chiefs would love to keep Charles around as long as he's an impact player. Currently, he's locked up through the 2017 season. Charles says technology and medicinal advances could carry him far beyond that date.
"I think (since) the years back then, (the game) has changed," said Charles from practice earlier this week, via quotes from the Chiefs. "They've got all kinds of technology now, all kinds of medicine people have come up with to stay healthy. At the end of the day, an ACL you couldn't play (with), it was the end of a career. Now they've got all kinds of things that you can be back in like five or four months.
"It's just the years are changing, the future is changing, football is changing, sports are just changing. You can see basketball, like Kobe Bryant, he is still playing at 36. You see Tim Duncan. Just sports are changing and I think back in the days you couldn't play for long because there were a lot of people that didn't know the fundamentals of hitting, running people over.
"That's not my form. I want to play another six years, so my form is to keep on taking my diet. The future is changing, football is changing. I'm seeing guys at 37 or 38 still playing football in the trenches and that's somewhere where you don't want to play. So I just want to change the game with the running backs. I want this to last longer and then when I retire, I'll be happy with where I end my career at."
Charles has started 15 games in each of the last three seasons, and he says he's feeling great early in OTAs.
"I feel like I am 20, 21," he said. "I feel good, I feel healthy, I eat right, I take vitamins, I do yoga. I am doing everything I am supposed to do to keep my body up at age. I lose weight, every year you're supposed to lose more than you need. When you get older, you're supposed to lose one pound every year and massage your weight. So I think I am doing well."
Cynics might point to last season as an indicator that it might be difficult for Charles to play six more seasons. The Chiefs running back dealt with a series of nagging injuries that frustrated him throughout the year.
"[Last year] was just frustrating," said Charles. "It wasn't the line; it was just me getting hurt. I had never played a whole season where I had nagging injuries and I can go in and I've got to come back out because my ankle hurt. And that was all the frustration. It wasn't about the team. The team did a great job. We won nine games last year, so it couldn't be the team. It was me because I missed a game and I felt like my team needed me. Even though Knile (Davis) did a great job, it just was frustrating getting hurt, that's the only part."
Charles had 206 carries for 1,033 yards and 9 touchdowns in 2014.