"I’d like to thank Jamaal Charles for his contributions and dedication over the last nine seasons," Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said. "Jamaal has been one of the most prolific players in our organization’s history, and I have an enormous amount of respect for what he has accomplished. He’ll always be a part of the Chiefs family, and we’ll be ready to honor him for his outstanding playing career when the time is right."
"Keeping Eric Berry in a Chiefs uniform long-term has been a significant goal of ours," Chiefs general manager John Dorsey said in a release from the team announcing that Berry had signed his contract.
"He brings a lot of mental and physical toughness to the position, and last season he was able to become a key contributor to our offense. Laurent has a bright future here."
The only frustrating part is the Chiefs now have a pattern of salary cap mismanagement with their best players. The Chiefs should have, and had every reason to, sign Houston to a long-term contract after the 2013 season. He was just 25 years old, had been chosen to two Pro Bowls, was respected by teammates and known as a good worker. He was also playing on a relatively meager rookie contract after being drafted in the third round. He wanted security, and the Chiefs could’ve given it to him, but wouldn’t meet the price, so they opted for inaction.
The players rank 1-2 on the Chiefs’ career rushing list with Larry Johnson, Christian Okoye and Ed Podolak rounding out the top five. Charles and Holmes rate a cut above. Holmes ran behind some of the greatest offensive lines in team history and his 76 rushing touchdowns are a team record.
These same people will have continued to support Berry whether he was in a Chiefs uniform or not—that’s simply the connection they share. But throughout this entire process, Berry expressed a desire to stay in Kansas City while Hunt, general manager John Dorsey and Reid expressed a desire to bring him back, and they got it done. The heartbeat of the team is staying in Kansas City.
Charles holds the Chiefs record for most yards rushing in a game—259 against the Denver Broncos in Week 17 of the 2009 season. Charles also recorded 233 yards rushing against the New Orleans Saints in 2012 and 226 against the Indianapolis Colts in 2012.
The Chiefs ran a sweep to the left and the blocking was good. But Charles was so quick and decisive to the hole that he made it look like the Saints were slow to react. Then, after breaking into the clear, Charles used his sprinter's speed to outrun a couple of defenders to the end zone. The play had all of the qualities that made Charles who he was. But what made it uniquely Charles was that only a few people -- fans of the Chiefs and in this case, the Saints -- saw it happen.
The Chiefs saw things from Berry in 2016 they hadn’t seen before: game-changing plays that made the difference in narrow victories and the iron will of his leadership. His teammates named him their most valuable player in a unanimous vote. It all reinforced what the Chiefs believed about Berry and gave them the nudge this time around to give him the long-term contract that they wouldn’t hand him last year.
Duvernay-Tardif made the Chiefs' 53-man roster as a rookie but didn't play. Dubbed "Canadian Doctor" and "Larry" by his teammates, Duvernay-Tardif became a starter in 2015, playing 13 games before making a career-best 14 starts this year — playing every game he dressed for.
One of Berry’s pick-sixes happened in the Chiefs’ victory against the Atlanta Falcons. Berry intercepted the pass at Atlanta’s 40-yard line, sprinted toward the sidelines, turned up the field, and ran for the touchdown. He was also responsible for the game-winning score with a rare pick-two. It was a special day for Berry, who grew up in Atlanta and underwent cancer treatment there as well.
The former Chiefs back should find multiple suitors in free agency, those who are not desperate enough to pay the top dollar that Peterson merits, but willing to take a flyer on an affordable future Hall of Famer with a few years left on his legs.
Then someone compared Melvin Gordon to Jamaal Charles, and something snapped inside me. Look, Gordon may well turn out to be a fantastic pro. This has nothing to do with him. But every year, some new fast guy (or two, or three) draws comparisons to Jamaal Charles. His entire career he's been grouped with smaller, faster backs as though they're roughly the same player (starting with Chris Johnson whenever everyone thought Charles was a poor man's Chris Johnson. How amusing). I've had it.