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Chiefs vs. Broncos preview: The return of Jamaal Charles

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It’s Halloween Eve and Monday Night Football, and what’s rather fitting about that is Jamaal Charles has decided he’s dressing up as a Denver Bronco this year.

And it’s great. It’s always good to see a family member again, especially on such a fun holiday, and it will also be nice to see Charles so happy. He was at a point in his life in which he wasn’t sure if he’d play football, the only thing he knows, ever again.

Now he’s in a good place.

And it’s OK. It’s OK that it’s a little weird and at the same time confusing and at the same time wonderful. There are no rules stating you have to feel solely one way about something. But as you sort it out, keep in mind that Charles is not a Denver Bronco, just like Peyton Manning wasn’t, and just like Brett Favre wasn’t a Viking.

Jamaal Charles is a Chief. He’s Kansas City. And he always will be.

“At the end of the day, I wouldn’t change a single thing about the past nine years,” Charles wrote Monday, via the Players Tribune. “I could go on and on about how grateful I am, or about what my old team means to me. But instead I’ll just say it like this: Football ends at some point. Family is forever.”

Now that their careers are over, Manning has gone back to Indianapolis, Favre to Green Bay.

Playing for different clubs at the end of their careers couldn’t erase memories they created while they were growing up before their respective towns’ eyes.

Charles was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs as a 21-year-old and was released at the age of 30. During a span in which the team had its share of unwatchable seasons, Charles was a shining light. He was the face. The luster. On some Sundays, the only reason to watch.

There has been a question circulating this week on Twitter and television and sports radio about how fans should handle Charles Monday night, whether they should boo or cheer their former hero.

I can’t tell you what to do, but what I can provide is reminders. Charles never wanted to leave the Chiefs. The team released him, and given his knee problems, he didn’t have many options.

Charles loved and loves Kansas City. Don’t let his Halloween costume fool you.

Five keys

  • The Broncos had 11 players dealing with injuries this week, but the most important one to watch is Emmanuel Sanders. If Sanders (questionable) can return from his ankle injury to join Demaryius Thomas in the Broncos passing game, that changes things. Similarly on the Chiefs side, Justin Houston (knee) is questionable. There is much to be won and lost based upon their statuses.
  • Steve Nelson is back for Monday night, and I anticipate the Chiefs ease him in, mixing in with Phillip Gaines.
  • Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian had to answer questions about confidence this week while head coach Vance Joseph had to confirm he was still the starter. Get to him early.
  • Mitch Morse’s return is very underrated, as is perhaps Laurent Duvernay-Tardif’s (he is also questionable). The Chiefs offense with the starting offensive line combination is perhaps the best in the league, and with the No. 1 defense coming into town, there’s no better time to have it back. The key matchup is Mitch Schwartz’s containment of Von Miller, who could ruin everyone’s night.
  • That offense was best when Kareem Hunt got his rushing game going early, and doing that could help open things up.